On Friday, the conferees for SB 2293, also known as the charter bill, approved a conference report that has killed every hope of creating real charter schools in Mississippi for another year. The conference report is essentially the Innovative Schools bill from the House with the word “innovative” replaced with “conversion charter.” There are a few material changes, but none of them create workable, autonomous schools, despite the superfluous language at the end of the bill declaring that it was the legislature’s intent to do so. The report is so bad that the bill’s author, Michael Watson, refused to sign it. Nevertheless, the report passed the Senate and the House on Saturday and is now waiting on Governor Barbour’s signature. If the Governor signs the bill, Mississippi will actually have taken a step backward. The best case scenario at this point would be for the Governor to exercise his veto power. Ouch.