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Mississippi Bill to Create Statewide School District Heads to Governor's Desk

Mississippi could join a growing number of states to create statewide school districts to take over low-performing schools. 

A bill headed to Gov. Phil Bryant's desk would establish a statewide district that would take over schools that receive an F grade for two straight years or districts with an F rating for two out of three years, the Associated Press reported.

Under the new bill, schools would stay under state control until they receive a grade of C or higher for five years. The schools or districts taken over by the state could be run by charter schools. In that case, they would not be required to return to their original school board after their academic standing improves.

Charter schools are relatively new to Mississippi. The state legislature only approved its charter school law in 2013, and the state's first two charter schools opened in 2015.

The state currently has a system of conservatorship, but that kicks into gear in cases where districts are in trouble financially, there is political discord between the school board and the district superintendent, or there are violations of state accrediting standards, according to the AP.

The head of this new statewide district would report to the State Board of Education, which would maintain oversight of the new district.

In recent years, many states have created—or moved to create—statewide districts modeled on Louisiana's Recovery School District. They include Tennessee, Michigan, and Nevada. Georgians are likely to vote in November on a constitutional amendment to establish a similar state takeover model, called the "opportunity school district." 

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