Charter school debate tops Miss. agenda - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Charter school debate tops Miss. agenda

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JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI -

(WMC-TV) - Mississippi state leaders are back in session and one of the big debates set to hit the capital again will be charter schools.

Business leaders in the Magnolia State are putting their support behind the effort.

Mississippi charter schools did not receive a passing grade last legislative session, in fact a bill died in committee.

But it is session time again and supporters are hoping it can make the grade this year.

"I think that the public is becoming increasingly aware of the deficiencies within the public school system and they're expecting us as leaders to do something about it," said Rep. John Moore, Brandon (R).

Business leaders are even going so far as to create a non-profit organization devoted to pushing the passage of charter school legislation.

"As it relates to education, for decades, our system has shuffled and re-shuffled children through a public that is short on accountability, choice and innovation," said Joel Bomgar, Bomgar Corporation.

The group commissioned a statewide poll, which said nearly 70 percent of Mississippans support charter schools.

"I think it's very important that education has the same benefit that all the other industries in this country have. Which is competition and the benefits that it brings," said Arty Finkelberg, Raymond James Independent Financial Advisors. "We don't know how great education can be because we haven't given a chance for competing factors to let our kids advance the levels that they belong."

But there is still opposition to making charter schools an option in every district.

"Let's use private funds to do pilot programs if you want to do it in every school district like you're proposing to do. Leave the money alone out of the public school," said Sen. Kenneth Wayne Jones, Canton (D).

Both the governor and lieutenant governor support the charter school legislation.

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