JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Maybe you saw it on the big screen in “Won’t Back Down.” Parent takeovers of failing public schools could be coming to Mississippi.
According to the Mississippi Department of Education, 35 schools are eligible for the first time to be converted to charter schools. A majority of parents must sign a petition seeking conversion.
State officials and charter advocates say they know of no petitions currently circulating. Parents would have to develop a full plan on how they would run the school, which could be difficult for a volunteer group. The state Board of Education would evaluate the proposal and could reject it.
Charter advocates say the conversion process is too difficult and doesn’t allow charter schools to start fresh, as some national charter groups prefer.
Because they have performed poorly for three years in a row, the following 35 schools across Mississippi are eligible to be converted into public charter schools. A majority of parents would have to sign a petition that is approved by the state Board of Education to take the schools from current administrators and set up new management independent of a local school board. Here’s the list of eligible schools alphabetically by district:
Aberdeen: Shivers Middle
Benton County: Ashland High
Claiborne County: Port Gibson High
Clarksdale: Clarksdale High, Higgins Middle, Oakhurst Middle, Booker T. Washington Elementary
Cleveland: D.M. Smith Middle
Coahoma County: Coahoma County Junior-Senior High, Friars Point Elementary
Coffeeville: Coffeeville High
Copiah County: Crystal Springs Middle
Covington County: Mount Olive Attendance Center
Greenville: Greenville-Weston High
Hinds Agricultural: Hinds Agricultural High
Holmes County: Lexington Elementary
Indianola: Gentry High
Jackson city: Whitten Middle
Lee County: Verona Elementary
Leflore County: Amanda Elzy High, Leflore County High
Leland: Leland School Park
Meridian: Carver Middle
Moss Point: Moss Point High, Magnolia Junior High
Natchez-Adams: Morgantown Elementary
Newton city: Pilate Middle
Noxubee County: Liddell Middle
Okolona: Okolona High
Oktibbeha County: East Oktibbeha High, West Oktibbeha High
South Pike: Magnolia Elementary
Walthall County: Dexter High
Yazoo City: Yazoo City High, McCoy Elementary
Source: Mississippi Department of Education