The Clarion-Ledger, 2/26/8

School districts with more than 500 students would be able to establish a charter school geared toward helping underperforming students, under a bill passed by a voice vote in the Mississippi Senate today.

But Senate Bill 2721 would limit the number of charter schools — which could be established by one or multiple school districts — to five in the state. The legislation would also require approval from the local school board and state Department of Education.

Supporters say the bill will help at-risk students, but critics say it would be redundant of responsibilities public schools already have and fear it could allow districts to cherry pick students.

The bill now advances to the House for consideration.