The Mississippi Senate Wednesday approved legislation to allow parents a choice in their children’s education through charter schools. The measure passed 34-17.
Senate Bill 2401 would allow charter schools to open in Mississippi with approval from a newly created independent commission, comprised of appointees from the governor, lieutenant governor,
state Department of Education, and the Department of Education and Institutions of Higher Learning.
The Republican majority turned back a series of amendments, some of which would have narrowed the expansion of charter schools.
The measure, as passed, allows students from anywhere in the state to attend a charter school.
School boards in 32 highly-rated districts would have a veto over charter schools. But schools could
be set up in any other district once approved by a new seven-member commission created by the bill
Senate Education Chairman Gray Tollison, an Oxford Republican, says that charter schools offer an innovative solution to poor school performance in Mississippi. But critics worry that they will
hurt existing public schools.