After yesterday’s deadline for the House and Senate to take up bills from the other chamber, only two bills remain that would allow charter schools in Mississippi.  The Senate version of the “Mississippi Public Charter School Act of 2013” (SB 2189) was left on the House calendar without a vote.  The House charter bill (HB 369) and the omnibus “Education Works” bill (HB 890) were debated, amended, and passed by the Senate before the deadline.

Through Senate strike-all amendments, House Bills 369 and 890 have identical charter school language.  Included in this language are a few provisions designed to attract greater legislative support.  Below is a summary of those provisions:

Phased-In “C” Districts – Seeking to bridge the most contentious House and Senate difference, these bills require charter applications in “”A”, “B”, and “C” districts to be endorsed by the local school board before they’re  reviewed by the state authorizer.  But after July 1, 2016, this requirement would no longer apply to “C” districts.  Charter applications for “D” and “F” districts can be reviewed by the state authorizer without a local board endorsement.

Annual Cap on Charter Schools – The state authorizer is allowed to approve a maximum of 15 charter applications during a fiscal year.

Expedited Review of HBCU Charter Applications – Charter applications submitted by the 3 historically black public universities (Alcorn State, Jackson State, and Mississippi Valley State) would receive priority during the state authorizer’s application review process.

Clarification of Certified Teacher Exemption– Charter schools are allowed to have up to 25% of their teaching faculty be exempt from holding state teacher certification during each school year.  Each exempted teacher would have three years to obtain standard or alternative certification.

The House is expected to send charter legislation to a conference committee, though it’s unclear if the legislation will get there in the stand-alone bill (HB369) or the omnibus education bill (HB 890).  Stay informed by visiting the Charter Schools Resource Page on our website.

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