Today, the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board received a $15M grant from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) through the Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter Schools Program Grants to State Entities (CSP State Entities program). ED selected 9 state entities out of 22 state applicants to receive a total of $144.7M in funding. The Authorizer Board will be granted the funding over 5 years and will sub-grant 90% of the funds to provide start-up funds to future charter schools across the state and additional 7% will fund technical assistance to new and operating charter schools as well as the Authorizer Board. The goals of the grant include opening 15 new charter schools in the next five years and ensuring all charter schools achieve an “A” or “B” rating or improve two letter grades by their third year of operation.

“This funding has the potential to be transformational to opening high-quality public charter schools in Mississippi. We are thrilled to support the Authorizer Board as they continue to grow the public charter school network in Mississippi and strengthen public education for all students,” said Rachel Canter, Executive Director of Mississippi First.

Charter schools are free public schools. Charter schools get their name from the contract—or charter—that the school signs with the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board. The charter describes the rights and responsibilities of the school and contains goals for the school’s academic and financial performance. Like traditional public schools, charter schools

  • Administer the same state tests and are rated under the same system as a traditional public schools.
  • Must accept all students who apply, unless there is not enough room, in which case they randomly draw names for admission.
  • Are subject to the same restrictions on reaching religious doctrine as traditional public schools.
  • May not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, disability or other categories, including academic or athletic ability.
  • Cannot charge tuition.
  • Are subject to an independent audit of their finances.
  • Are subject to civil rights, health, and safety laws.

No students or teachers are assigned to charter schools by a school district. Parents choose to enroll their children, and teachers choose whether to apply for employment.


The mission of Mississippi First is to champion transformative policy solutions ensuring educational excellence for every Mississippi child. Mississippi First is a leading voice for state-funded pre-K, high-quality public charter schools, and rigorous state learning standards.

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