Senate OKs charter school bill

Published 12:08am Thursday, April 4, 2013

JACKSON (AP) — After two years of struggle, a bill to make it easier to create charter schools is on its way to Gov. Phil Bryant.

The State Senate voted 34-18 Wednesday to approve House Bill 369, which widens legal authority for charter schools.

House members approved the bill Tuesday. Bryant, a Republican, says he’ll sign it, along with a series of other education bills that lawmakers have given final approval in recent days.

“Our children and our economy will reap the benefits of these improvement measures, and I look forward to signing these acts into law,” Bryant said in a statement.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, said he had hoped to preserve more elements of the Senate proposal in a compromise with the House. But he said senators decided to adopt the House bill rather than risk failure for a second straight year.

“It’s not the bill that I would have liked,” Tollison said. “But it is a bill, after discussion and other effort, that we decided was the best bill we were going to get.”

Boards in districts graded A, B and C would get vetoes over charter schools in their boundaries. Students couldn’t cross district lines to attend a charter school in another district.

While House opponents didn’t mount a debate Tuesday, Senate opponents debated for about 45 minutes.

Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, said he feared supporters were using charter schools as an opening wedge for a voucher system. He also said multiple systems of schools could “do away with the notion that the public school is part of the fiber of the community.”

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    They need to do something than sit on the hands and also need to get the state health care going instead of bucking the President’s health care!!! This will be bad for the state economy!!!!