After two hours of heated debate Tuesday afternoon, the Mississippi Senate passed a bill to allow the creation of charter schools in our state. The vote was 29-14. Eight senators did not vote.
On Thursday morning at 7:05, MCPP President Forest Thigpen will be a guest on the Paul Gallo Show on SuperTalk Mississippi. He will be discussing the Senate bill and the House action described below. Find a station or listen online at www.supertalk.fm.
Today, the House took a minor step by approving 75-43 a provision that will allow the state to contract with charter school organizations to run failing schools which are taken over by the state under a new procedure.
The provision was approved as an amendment to House Bill 1043, a bill that will require the state to fire the faculty and staff of a public school which fails three years in a row. Under the bill, the failing school's teachers, but not administrators, could re-apply for their positions once new leadership is named. Under the amendment described above, that new leadership could include a non-profit organization which has operated a successful charter school in another state.
The House bill is NOT a charter school bill. It simply allows the state another option in running schools taken over by the state.
The Senate bill IS a charter school bill, and its passage by the Senate is a significant step toward giving charter schools a chance in Mississippi. That bill will now go to the House, where passage is uncertain.
We'll keep you posted as important charter school legislation progresses.