Charter school vote delayed

By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – House Education Chair John Moore, R-Brandon, on Thursday again postponed a vote on charter school legislation that now appears to be in jeopardy.
Moore intended to take up the legislation Wednesday in his Education Committee, but abruptly recessed the meeting until Thursday. The committee met twice Thursday, but “at the chairman’s discretion” never took up the bill.
Opponents believe Moore does not have the votes to pass the bill out of the 31-member Education Committee. Members say that behind the scenes the House leadership is working to garner the votes to pass the bill.
Tuesday is the deadline to pass it out of committee.
“We are going to have a vote before deadline, up or down,” said Moore, who has scheduled meetings for both Monday and Tuesday.
The Legislature opted not to meet today.
Passage of charter school legislation is a priority of the Republican leadership – Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn.
Charter schools are public schools that operate outside the governance and many of the guidelines of traditional public schools.
Moore said charter schools would be “another option” for parents in low performing districts. Others argue they would siphon the best students and resources away from traditional public schools.
Moore said he made concessions to those who have concerns about the legislation. The primary one is giving local school boards in Star, High Performing and Successful districts the authority to block charter schools within their boundaries.
bobby.harrison@journalinc.com