House Bill 369 and Senate Bill 2189 would broaden the legal authority to create charter schools in Mississippi. A new board would be set up to oversee such schools. Charter schools are public schools that agree to meet certain standards in exchange for freedom from regulations.
"I have voted every time for charter schools, something has got to be done to improve Mississippi schools." Mississippi senator john Polk is from Lamar County. He serves on the senate education committee and says bringing charter schools to the state isn't about money.
"It's not a money issue it's a leadership issue, it's a parental involvement issue and it's a student issue." Senator Polk says it's the leadership's decisions that can move a school forward or backwards. "For instance Lamar County, great school systems school in that district they educate students for about $7,500 per student."
Polk says recently the state had to consolidate 6 school districts in Bolivar County to three. "They were spending $15,000 per student and they did not have but one passing school in the district."
Legislation is giving districts rated at a "C" or betters the choice to bring charters to their district. That leaves parents to decide where their child goes and where the funding could follow.