Mississippi Senate passes bill expanding charter schools

By Jeff Amy/The Associated Press

JACKSON — State senators are moving ahead with a relatively broad plan to expand charter schools in Mississippi.

Senators voted 34-17 Wednesday to agree to the bill. The Republican majority turned back a series of amendments, some of which would have narrowed the expansion of charter schools.

The measure, as passed, allows students from anywhere in the state to attend a charter schools. School boards in 32 highly-rated districts would have a veto over charter schools. But schools could be set up in any other district once approved by a new seven-member commission created by the bill

Senate Education Chairman Gray Tollison, an Oxford Republican, says that charter schools offer an innovative solution to poor school performance in Mississippi. But critics worry that they will hurt existing public schools.

Miss. Senate roll call on charter school bill
The Associated Press

The Mississippi Senate voted 34-17 Wednesday to pass Senate Bill 2401, which would allow the widespread creation of charter schools in Mississippi. A “yes” vote was for the bill and a “no” vote was against it.

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Republicans voting yes (31)

Brown, Columbus; Burton, Newton; Carmichael, Meridian; Chassaniol, Winona; Clarke, Hollandale; Collins, Tupelo; Doty, Brookhaven; Fillingane, Sumrall; Flowers, Southaven; Gandy, Waynesboro;

Gollott, Biloxi; Harkins, Flowood; Hill, Picayune; Hopson, Vicksburg; Hudson, Hattiesburg; G. Jackson, French Camp; Kirby, Pearl; Lee, Mendenhall; Longwitz, Madison; Massey, Nesbit;

McDaniel, Ellisville; Moran, Kiln; Parks, Corinth; Polk, Hattiesburg; Smith, Picayune; Sojourner, Natchez; Tindell, Gulfport; Tollison, Oxford; Ward, Louisville; Watson, Pascagoula;

Wiggins, Pascagoula.

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Republicans voting no (0)

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Democrats voting yes (3)

Hale, Senatobia; Jones, Canton; Montgomery, Bay Springs;

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Democrats voting no (17)

Blount, Jackson; Browning, Pontotoc; Bryan, Amory; A. Butler, Port Gibson; K. Butler, McComb; Dawkins, Pass Christian; Frazier, Jackson; Horhn, Jackson; R. Jackson, Marks; S. Jackson, Preston;

Jolly, Houston; Jordan, Greenwood; D. Simmons, Greenville; W. Simmons, Cleveland; Stone, Ashland; Turner, West Point; Wilemon, Belmont.

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Democrat absent (1)

Harden, Jackson.

Read more in the NEMS Daily Journal Thursday.