Mississippi First works with charter school operators, advocates, and the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board to support high-quality charter schools. We are dedicated to creating the conditions for high-quality seat growth, including supporting new school incubation, access to facilities, new talent pipelines, quality initiatives, and advocacy.

What are public charter schools?

Charter schools are free, public, and open to all students in the eligible grade and geography.

The Mississippi Charter Schools Act of 2013 defines charter schools as public schools that have flexibility over decisions including finance, personnel, scheduling, curriculum, and instruction because they are governed by an independent, non-profit governing board instead of the local school district board. Public charter schools do not charge tuition and are open to all students within the allowed geographic boundary, regardless of academic, athletic, or special education status.

Mississippi parents support charter schools. 

Overall, strong majorities of all parents in Mississippi charter school communities support charter schools in their communities (75.1%). 96.3% of charter parents support charter schools in their communities while 72.7% of non-charter parents support them.

Parents believe public charter schools give more students access to a great public school education. 

58.2% of parents in charter school communities believe opening a charter school has affected access to high-quality schools positively, including majorities of both types of parents (charter parents–84.5%; non-charter parents–54.9%).

Parents believe public charter schools provide a safe and nurturing environment where every student can get a great education.

Charter parents remain overwhelmingly satisfied with their child’s education and school environment. Almost 100% of parents are satisfied with their students’ academic progress, and agree or strongly agree that charter schools are preparing students for college.

Mississippi Public Charter Schools

Since 2013, the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board (MCSAB), the only charter school authorizing agency in Mississippi, has approved nine public charter schools. Currently, eight provide public education to over 2,000 students in Jackson, Clarksdale, and Leflore County, Mississippi.

Charter School Program Grant

The Charter Schools Program (CSP) is a competitive, national grant program eligible to state entities. Through this program, Mississippi First will subgrant 90% of funds to eligible charter school applicants to open new charter schools and/or to replicate or expand high-quality charter schools.

Latest News About Public Charter Schools

  • Request for Proposals
    Mississippi First is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to champion transformative policy solutions ensuring educational excellence for every Mississippi child. In September 2022, Mississippi First was awarded a 2022 Charter Schools…
  • Mississippi First Awarded $19.3M Charter School Program Grant to Expand Public Charter Schools
    JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Mississippi First a $19.3 million, five-year Charter Schools Program grant to grow high-quality public charter schools in Mississippi. Charter schools are free, public,…
  • Introducing Our Charter School Fellows!
    Public charter schools empower communities to design high-quality, public educational experiences to meet their students’ needs. Charter schools are free, public, and open to all children in relevant grades. In the 2022-2023…

Our Research and Publications on Public Charter Schools

Check out our Publications page to see our extensive research and reports on public charter schools in Mississippi.