Parents could seek charters at 35 Mississippi schools

By Jeff Amy/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Maybe you saw it on the big screen in “Won’t Back Down.” Parent takeovers of failing public schools could be coming to Mississippi.

According to the Mississippi Department of Education, 35 schools are eligible for the first time to be converted to charter schools. A majority of parents must sign a petition seeking conversion.

State officials and charter advocates say they know of no petitions currently circulating. Parents would have to develop a full plan on how they would run the school, which could be difficult for a volunteer group. The state Board of Education would evaluate the proposal and could reject it.

Charter advocates say the conversion process is too difficult and doesn’t allow charter schools to start fresh, as some national charter groups prefer.

Miss. schools eligible for conversion to charters

JACKSON — Because they have performed poorly for three years in a row, the following 35 schools across Mississippi are eligible to be converted into public charter schools. A majority of parents would have to sign a petition that is approved by the state Board of Education to take the schools from current administrators and set up new management independent of a local school board. Here’s the list of eligible schools alphabetically by district:

Aberdeen: Shivers Middle.

Benton County: Ashland High.

Claiborne County: Port Gibson High.

Clarksdale: Clarksdale High, Higgins Middle, Oakhurst Middle, Booker T. Washington Elementary.

Cleveland: D.M. Smith Middle.

Coahoma County: Coahoma County Junior-Senior High, Friars Point Elementary.

Coffeeville: Coffeeville High.

Copiah County: Crystal Springs Middle.

Covington County: Mount Olive Attendance Center.

Greenville: Greenville-Weston High.

Hinds Agricultural: Hinds Agricultural High.

Holmes County: Lexington Elementary.

Indianola: Gentry High.

Jackson city: Whitten Middle.

Lee County: Verona Elementary.

Leflore County: Amanda Elzy High, Leflore County High.

Leland: Leland School Park.

Meridian: Carver Middle.

Moss Point: Moss Point High, Magnolia Junior High.

Natchez-Adams: Morgantown Elementary.

Newton city: Pilate Middle.

Noxubee County: Liddell Middle.

Okolona: Okolona High.

Oktibbeha County: East Oktibbeha High, West Oktibbeha High.

South Pike: Magnolia Elementary.

Walthall County: Dexter High.

Yazoo City: Yazoo City High, McCoy Elementary.

Source: Mississippi Department of Education