A great deal of activity has taken place on the charter school issue here in the Magnolia State. Below is a brief rundown of what’s been going on:
HB888, the House version of the “Mississippi Public Charter School Act of 2012,” is officially dead. HB888’s demise was largely driven by the legislative calendar. Basically, the House had a nearly 100 bills to vote on before last week’s deadline for sending their approved bills to the Senate. As the deadline approached, the newly-elected House leadership decided to prioritize certain bills, based both on their legislative priorities and the existence of companion legislation in the Senate. Since the Senate had already passed their version of the charter school act (SB 2401) and the leadership knew that the charter bill would take up an inordinate amount of time on the floor, the House decided to let HB888 die.
So now the House will take up SB 2401, and they’ll likely do one of three options:
- Pass the Senate bill as is, and send it straight to Gov. Bryant
- Make a few amendments to the bill, pass it, and send it to the Senate to either concur or take to a conference committee (members from both chambers iron out differences to craft one final charter bill); or
- Replace Senate bill language with the language from HB 888 (“Strike All”), then pass it and send it to conference.
The House must take action on the Senate charter bill by April 3rd.
There are two features on MississippiFirst.org designed to provide a wealth of information about charter school policy. First, we’ve made several changes to our Charter Schools Resource Page. Along with info about the pending legislation (including a new summary of HB 2401), we’ve also added several new charter school studies and articles. We will continue to add new information over the coming weeks.
We’ve also added a new page called Common Concerns About Charter Schools, which is designed to address the concerns that have often been raised in recent years about charter schools. We will continue to add concerns as the current legislation works its way through the Legislature. You can help us determine which which new concerns we’ll address. All you have to do is post your questions/concerns on our MSF Facebook page.
More information is coming soon!