A decision from the Mississippi Supreme Court has opened the doors for more charter schools in one of the country’s poorest states.
Empower Mississippi, a school choice advocate, is applauding a state ruling that dismissed a lawsuit claiming a charter school law is unconstitutional because tax dollars follow students from a public school setting to a charter school.
The lawsuit was filed in 2016 by the Southern Poverty Law Center to fight the Mississippi Charter Schools Act, passed in 2013 by the Republican-led legislature.
Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the nation, has one of the worst-performing public school systems, too, and the charter school law allows students to apply to a charter school if they are located in a struggling or failing district.
Grant Callen of Empower Mississippi says six charter schools are currently operating in The Magnolia State and two more have been approved but have not yet opened their doors. In recent days, he says, the Charter Authorizer Board approved an application for a ninth charter in the state.
"This ruling really provides a boost of enthusiasm and energy to the charter school sector here," Callen says, “because it means communities that might have been on the fence about whether to apply to start a charter school now know they can do that knowing that the constitutional question has been settled."