Committee

Education

Author

Briggs Hopson

Session

2024 Session

Passed House committee(s); awaiting House floor action

Latest Action


On April 10, the House passed a strike-all amendment for SB 2693 that removes the original language for SB 2693 and inserts the language for HB 1453, better known as the “INSPIRE Act.”

This occurred the day after the Senate voted not to concur with the House’s amendments to SB 2332, which included the INSPIRE Act. Although SB 2332 is technically still active, the Senate signaled its intention to not invite conference and to allow the bill to die on the calendar.

Through its strike-all to SB 2693, the House presented another opportunity to allow the Senate to consider the INSPIRE Act. However, unless the Senate is willing to either support INSPIRE or negotiate a compromise, this bill has a precarious path forward.

Explanation of the Bill


As amended by the House, SB 2693 would establish the INSPIRE Act. For an explanation of INSPIRE, please see the summary for HB 1453.

Below is the analysis for Senate Bill 2693, as passed by the Senate. This is not the current version of the bill, as amended and passed by the House (see “Latest Action).

As passed by the Senate, Senate Bill 2693 would revise provisions related to the state takeover of struggling school districts. It would abolish the Mississippi Recovery School District and Mississippi Achievement School District, and clarify the pathway for the State Board of Education to take corrective action in school districts.

Changes to Districts of Transformation

Entry into District of Transformation

Under current law, the Governor can declare a state of emergency in a struggling school district, which allows the State Board of Education (SBE) to assume control and administration of the school district and appoint an interim superintendent. Conditions warranting a declaration of emergency include serious violations of accreditation standards or state or federal law, the district receiving an “F” accountability rating for two consecutive school years, or more than fifty percent (50%) of the schools within the district being designated as “Schools-At-Risk” in a single year. Financial issues within a district may also warrant a declaration of emergency. If the SBE declares a state of emergency in a district where they have had to declare a state of emergency in the past, the district may be placed into a “District of Transformation.” 

Currently, once a school district has been placed into a District of Transformation, it is under the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Recovery School District. The Recovery School District is led by a deputy superintendent appointed by the State Superintendent, who oversees the interim superintendents appointed by the SBE.  

SB 2693 would abolish the Recovery School District, change the process for a district to enter into a District of Transformation, and change the rules governing Districts of Transformation. Under the bill, the SBE could place a district into a District of Transformation even if there had been no previous state of emergency declared in the district. SBE would be authorized to take this action in the following scenarios:

  • If a district receives an “F” accountability rating for two consecutive school years or an “F” accountability rating for two out of three consecutive school years;
  • If a district receives a “D” or “F” accountability rating for four consecutive school years;
  • If more than 50% of schools within a district are designated as Schools-At-Risk; 
  • If the SBE determines that a district is persistently failing, as defined by the SBE; or
  • If the district faces “impairment related to a lack of financial resources” (this is not defined further). 

As described above, current Districts of Transformation are placed into the Recovery School District, in which all of the districts are overseen by a deputy superintendent appointed by the State Superintendent. SB 2693 abolishes the Recovery School District. In its absence, Districts of Transformation would be treated in the same way as districts where a state of emergency has been declared: the State Board of Education (SBE) would assume control and administration of the school district and appoint an interim superintendent to lead the district. 

Districts of Transformation would also be subject to additional actions that currently apply to school districts in which a state of emergency has been declared, including, but not limited to, being obligated to grant transfers to students who attend the school district.

SB 2693 notes that the SBE should not exceed its capacity in placing schools or districts into transformation status, though the bill does not offer a definition for the Board’s capacity or outline consequences if it exceeds its capacity. School districts that are eligible to be placed into a District of Transformation due to poor academic performance but are not absorbed due to the capacity of the State Board of Education would be required to develop and implement a district improvement plan. Failure of the school district to implement the plan would result in the district retaining its eligibility for placement into a District of Transformation.

Exit from District of Transformation 

Under current law, districts that are in district transformation status and had an accountability grade of “D” or “F” when they entered this status may return to local control when they have attained a “C” accountability rating or higher for five consecutive years (unless the SBE determines they may return to local control before this). Once they exit transformation status, the interim superintendent leaves the district.

In the proposed bill, after a district has attained a “C” or higher for three consecutive years, the SBE would appoint five residents of the school district to serve on a local school board. This school board would serve in an advisory capacity to the interim superintendent during its first year, then would take over responsibility from the SBE in administering the district. 

The interim superintendent would remain in place for two years once the local school board has been put in charge of district administration. Once the new school board has been responsible for district administration for one year, it could appoint a new superintendent. This new superintendent would serve as deputy to the interim superintendent for a year before taking over their role. 

Abolition of Mississippi Achievement School District

Under current law, the Mississippi Achievement School District exists separately from the Mississippi Recovery School District, though there is quite a bit of overlap between the two. The stated purpose of the Achievement School District is to transform “persistently failing public schools and districts throughout the state.” 

Schools or districts that receive an accountability rating of “F” for two consecutive years or two out of three consecutive years, or which the SBE determines are “persistently failing and chronically underperforming” may be placed into the Achievement School District. The Achievement School District is governed by the SBE, who selects a superintendent to run the district. Similar to the Recovery School District, school districts can exit the Achievement School District after receiving an accountability rating of “C” or higher for five consecutive years. There are currently two school districts under the jurisdiction of the Achievement School District: Yazoo City Municipal School District and Humphreys County School District. 

SB 2693 would dissolve the Achievement School District by July 1, 2025. It outlines a process for Yazoo City Municipal School District and Humphreys County School District to transition into two separate Districts of Transformation by the time the Achievement School District is dissolved. 

Authority of State Board of Education over Local School Boards

Currently, the SBE may appoint an interim superintendent and take over the administration of any school district in which a majority of the school board has resigned. SB 2693 removes this authority from the SBE. 

The bill also removes language that would allow the SBE to issue a written request to the Governor requesting that a superintendent and school board be subject to recall in a district where a state of emergency has been declared. 

Technical Changes

In addition to making the above changes, SB 2693 removes outdated language in the law including provisions that are no longer relevant because they applied to particular time windows that have passed.

DateDetails
3/5/24On March 5, the Senate Education Committee passed a committee substitute for SB 2693.
3/13/24On March 13, the Senate passed the committee substitute for SB 2693.
4/2/24On April 2, the House Education Committee passed SB 2693.
4/10/24On April 10, the House passed a strike-all amendment for SB 2693 that removes the original language for SB 2693 and inserts the language for HB 1453, better known as the “INSPIRE Act.”