Mississippi Senate approves expanded charter school bill

By Jeff Amy/The Associated Press

JACKSON — State senators are pushing ahead a bill expanding charter schools in Mississippi.

The 31-17 vote included some Democratic supporters and Republican opponents. It came Wednesday, a day after Senate Bill 2189 was introduced and passed by the Senate Education Committee.

Charter schools are public schools that agree to meet certain standards in exchange for freedom from regulations. Proponents say they can improve achievement in Mississippi. Opponents fear they will skim motivated students and money from traditional schools.

Senators approved an amendment requiring a charter school be shut down if it’s rated “F” two years in a row. They rejected other changes, including one that would have blocked charter schools until the state’s education funding formula is fully funded.

The bill goes to the House, where charter measures failed in 2012.