Charter School Legislation Passes House

Legislation to expand access to charter schools has passed the House and now returns to the Senate.

Senate Bill 2161, which was amended by the House Education Committee, will allow students in school districts rated “C,” “D,” or “F” to cross district lines to attend a charter school. Currently, students are only allowed to attend a charter school in the district in which they reside.

“This is important legislation that will provide new educational opportunities to families trapped in failing schools throughout Mississippi,” said Empower Mississippi President Grant Callen. “By allowing students to cross district lines, charter schools would now be able to open in high-need areas where the small size of many of the school districts has made the creation of a charter school virtually impossible. This bill is a compromise between bills previously passed by the House and Senate and Empower Mississippi fully supports this measure.”

The proposed legislation would also:
• Permit employees to participate in PERS and other benefits programs. Currently this is not available.
• Allow for conversion charters to purchase or lease the school building from the local school district at market value. Currently this is not available.

The bill that originally passed the Senate would have allowed students who reside in any district to cross district lines and would have also allowed for the creation of charter schools in “C” rated districts.

The legislation now heads back to the Senate where Senators can either choose to concur with these changes or invite conference for more debate on a final bill.

Empower MS Press Release
3/28/16