Mississippi Senate passes public charter school expansion

By Ryan Cantrell, Regional Advocacy and Political Director
On Tuesday, the Mississippi Senate voted in favor of parents and children when they passed a bill that would allow for the expansion of high-quality, public charter schools in the state. The bill passed 31-19 with bipartisan support.
SB 2161 would allow for public charter schools to be created in C-rated districts and give students the opportunity to cross district lines to attend the charter school of their choice. The bill would also allow teachers at charter schools to participate in benefit programs and give schools the opportunity to purchase or lease building space at market value from school districts.
AFC is thrilled that Mississippi has, once again, taken steps to expand educational choice to its students. The state is breaking down the barriers that exist for children to access a quality education that best fits their needs, whether it’s at a public school, private school, charter school or through digital learning. We would like to thank Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison for their leadership on this important issue and all the other senators who supported this bill and support providing options and opportunity to Mississippi students.
In addition to charter schools, Mississippi has three private school choice programs – the Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship, the Mississippi Speech-Language Therapy Scholarship for Students with Speech-Language Impairments Program and the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs education savings account program.
There is also a great deal of support for educational choice within the state. Recent polling shows 78 percent of likely Mississippi voters favor the idea of school choice or “the parent’s right to use the tax dollars associated with their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs.” Additionally, over 57 percent of voters favor charter schools, including a majority of both republicans and democrats.

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