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Bill to Expand Charters in Miss. Passes House, Senate

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The Mississippi legislature has passed a bill that will expand the reach and scope of charter schools in that state.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, who is expected to sign it.

The Mississippi House passed the bill yesterday, and the state Senate voted to approve it earlier today.

Under the new bill, charter schools are required to be run as nonprofits or managed by nonprofit charter management organizations. School boards in districts with an A, B, or C rating under the state's grading system have the power to veto charter schools within their districts' boundaries. And no student can cross district lines to enroll in a charter school.

The bill also directs the state to create a seven-member authorizing board—appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and the state superintendent of public instruction—to approve up to 15 charter schools each fiscal year.

An earlier version of the House bill allowed students in D- or F-rated schools located within D- or F-rated districts, to cross district lines to attend charter schools, but the provision was later taken out in order to secure enough votes for the bill, says an Associated Press article.

Although Mississippi has had a charter school law on the books since 2010, no charter schools are currently operating in the state. The state ranks the lowest out of all states with charter school laws on the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools' annual comparison of state charter laws.

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