New legislative watchdog report examines charter school funding and performance

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 7:19 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A new legislative watchdog report is calling attention to both the funding and performance of Mississippi’s charter schools.

There’s been some pushback on charter schools in Mississippi since they were first authorized. Traditional public school advocates were worried that money would be siphoned away from already underfunded schools. Now, this latest PEER report reveals that, yes, those local tax dollars are following the children to the charters, but it’s not equal to what’s flowing to the local districts.

“That is a flaw in the statute in the way that the statute was drafted initially,” explained The Parents’ Campaign Executive Director Nancy Loome. “And nobody caught that. It does put traditional public schools at quite a funding disadvantage, and that needs to be corrected.”

The report also notes that the funding from state, local, federal, and other sources was sufficient for charter schools in FY 2022.

“We need equitable funding,” added Loome. “We’re not asking that charter schools get less than traditional public schools. But the traditional public schools deserve the same level of funding that the charter schools are getting. So that needs to be addressed.”

The Charter School Authorizer Board argues that the elimination of the 3% funding would make them more reliant on general funds and potentially impact charter growth over time.

The Mississippi Association of Educators also took notice of the performance review.

“Charter schools are not outperforming our public schools,” said MAE President Erica Jones.

Although there are steps these public school advocates hope lawmakers will take based on the report---they are raising their hands to say---the schools are a silver bullet answer.

“Charter schools will always be there, but I am advocating that our legislators not provide any additional funding. The additional funding could be given to our public schools in the state,” noted Jones.

To read the full PEER report, including the response from the Charter School Authorizer Board, click HERE.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.