TUPELO – Mississippi’s lieutenant governor would like to amend the state’s new charter school law.
Tate Reeves was among the primary forces behind the 2013 state law that allowed Mississippi’s first charter schools. For it to truly have an impact, he said on Wednesday, it must be changed to allow students to cross district lines to attend those schools, which are publicly funded but given the flexibility from many of the rules that govern traditional schools.
The prohibition on crossing district lines resulted from concerns about local tax money following students to other districts. However, Reeves said, many struggling districts where a charter school could help are too small to support one under the current law.
“The areas that need public charter schools the most, the Mississippi Delta for example, tend to be areas that have the smallest school districts,” Reeves said while meeting with the Daily Journal editorial board. “If you have the smallest school districts and you don’t allow for kids to go across district lines, then the likelihood that a charter school can be successful in one of these districts is relatively low.”
During his meeting with the Daily Journal’s editorial board, Reeves spoke at length about education and school reform measures. Those included:
• His support for a bill authored by Sen. Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo, that would provide $6,000 scholarships for 500 to 800 special-needs students to attend private schools. That bill was passed by the Senate in 2014 but not approved by the House.