One of Mississippi’s struggling school districts says opening charter schools would ‘create competition’
Published 5:26 am Monday, July 18, 2022
Officials of a struggling Mississippi school district say they oppose the formation of charter schools one week after a proposed charter school moved to the final stage of approval by state officials.
The Natchez Adams School District issued a statement Friday afternoon.
Opening a new school would “create competition” between the school district and the charter school for teachers, students and funds, the school district states.
Originally, proposals for four different charter schools to be located in Adams County were submitted to the Mississippi Charter School Authorization Board for consideration, but only one has made it to the final stage of the state’s approval process.
A final decision on the charter school will be announced in September.
The Natchez-Adams district is currently rated a “D” by the Mississippi Department of Education. The district improved from the “F” to “D” rating for the 2016-17 school year. Law allows the creation of charter schools in any area where the public schools are ranked below a “C,” without school board approval.
The school district said both would depend upon and compete for a fixed amount of public funds in order to support their operations.
“Having a charter school in the district does not increase the availability of funds. Rather the money used to fund public education in the district is diminished by what is diverted to the charter school for its operation,” the school district states. “As a general proposition then, public school districts do not encourage the formation of charter schools within its district because it reduces the funding available to it for its programs.”
Additionally, the school district states charter schools are not held subject to the same state-mandated standards as other public schools.
“Charter schools operate autonomously through individual agreements made with the State which dictate the rules and performance standards for the individual charter school.
“Having a charter school within the district would have the effect of creating a competition between the school district and the charter school for teachers, students and funding.”
The school district added they would “continue to work diligently to offer its students access to a meaningful public education,” regardless of whether or not a charter school is created in Natchez Adams School District.