Special needs voucher use low in region

In total, 22 vouchers have been awarded to students in the 16 counties that make up Northeast Mississippi compared to 165 in the three-county Jackson metro area.

“One of the things that stood out is that before the vote (in the Legislature) there appeared to be a lot of lobbying for the bill coming from Northeast Mississippi, our friends and neighbors,” said Rep. Mac Huddleston, R-Pontotoc, who voted for the proposal.

Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, one of the most vocal critics of the law, said he agrees that more emphasis must be placed on helping students with special needs but said the current legislation does not do that. Bryan said it only establishes a voucher system.

“It seems skewed to more affluent areas,” he said.

Senate Education Chair Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, said a factor in the low participation rate in north Mississippi is fewer private school options.

Daily Journal
9/22/16