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PEER analyzes Mississippi charter...

PEER analyzes Mississippi charter school funding

By: Frank Corder - January 7, 2022

The Committee reports that the local ad valorem pro rata calculation required by state law continues to provide for unequal shares between charter schools and the school districts.

Today, the Joint Legislative PEER Committee released its report titled FY 2021 Annual Report: Analysis of Funding for Mississippi Charter Schools and the Charter School Authorizer Board.

PEER found that while the funding from state, local, federal and other sources was sufficient for charter schools in Fiscal Year 2021, the local ad valorem pro rata calculation required by state law continues to provide for unequal shares between charter schools and the school districts.

However, PEER reports that the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board’s 3% fee revenues have increased at a greater rate than its expenditures. Therefore, PEER believes MCSAB has achieved the financial stability to operate on less revenue.

MCSAB plans to request a no-cost extension on its Charter School grant in 2022.

PEER noted that no new applications for charter schools were approved by MCSAB in 2021.

Other findings by PEER included:

  • Academic performance of the charter schools that administered Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) assessments in both the 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 school years dropped in all three academic areas, presumably due to the learning loss resulting from COVID-19. Notably, due to school closures resulting from COVID-19, students did not take the MAAP assessments in the 2019-2020 school year.
  • The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) distributed Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) funding to charter schools at the same amounts it provided MAEP funding to each charter school’s home school district (before add-on program costs), in accordance with statute.
  • The local ad valorem pro rata calculation required by statute provides unequal shares between charter schools and the school districts. The total dollar amount of unequal funding from FY 2017 to FY 2021 for Jackson Public School District (JPSD) was $1.4 million.
  • Neither MCSAB’s contract with Professional Polish to provide assistance to potential and currently operating charter applicants and schools; nor its contract with Champe Carter to develop, create, and implement a “Best Practice Tool Kit” for aspiring, approved, and operating charter schools included performance metrics to help assess the effectiveness of those contractual services MCSAB is receiving.

PEER also noted that the current constitution of Board members’ staggered terms results in three Board members rolling off at one time, potentially impacting the Board’s quorum requirement.

You can read the full PEER report here.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: