Photo: Reimagine Prep Public Charter School
Over 3,000 Mississippi children receive their education in a public charter school.
On March 22nd, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) approved House Bill 1173, authorizing the issuance of Education Enhancement Funds (EEF) classroom supply procurement cards to eligible charter school teachers.
The bill takes effect July 1st, just before the 2023-2024 school year.
H.B. 1173 states that the State Department of Education shall disburse Education Enhancement Funds for classroom supplies, instructional materials and equipment, including computers and computer software to all eligible charter school teachers on the same basis and in the same manner as it is paid to school districts under Section 37-61-33(3)(a)(iii) for the purpose of issuing procurement cards or credentials for a digital solution to eligible teachers.
Governor Reeves said teachers across the state do tremendous work on behalf of Mississippi students.
“They’re the reason why Mississippi led the nation in fourth grade reading and math gains and why our state’s graduation rate is at an all-time high. Charter school teachers play a major role in their communities, often with less resources,” Reeves said. “This is why I was especially proud to sign legislation that gives these teachers greater resources to improve their classrooms.”
Dr. Lisa Karmacharya, Executive Director of the Mississippi Charter Authorizer Board (MCSAB), said they are delighted that the Legislature took action this year on their request to support the needs of children by approving the legislation ensuring Mississippi’s public charter school teachers have access to classroom supply money.
“We are grateful for the continued support we receive from the legislative leadership as our schools demonstrate the ability to provide high quality options to underserved students,” Dr. Karmacharya said. “Having access to these monies will go a long way in supporting our scholars.”
Rachel Canter, Executive Director of Mississippi First, said all public school teachers serving our children should have the resources they need to succeed.
“Charter schools are public schools, and we are thrilled charter school teachers will have access to the same classroom funds, in the same manner, as traditional public school teachers,” Canter said.
Grant Callen, Founder and CEO of Empower Mississippi, agreed.
“Charter schools are public schools, so I applaud the legislature for passing and the Governor for signing HB 1173, which remedies a loophole that had kept charter school teachers from receiving the same classroom supply cards as other public school teachers,” Callen said.
Callen explained that this bill will help ensure charter school teachers have the resources to purchase critical supplies for their classrooms.
Mississippi First reported that as of March 2023, there are eight operating charter schools located in three communities—Jackson, Clarksdale, and Greenwood. Recently approved charter schools locating in Natchez and Canton are expected to open by fall of 2023.
Together, over 3,000 Mississippi children receive their education in a public charter school.
According to the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), charter schools are public schools of choice that operate with autonomy from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.
“These schools may service early childhood, elementary school, and secondary school students,” MDE explained. “The ‘charter’ establishing each such school is a performance contract detailing the school’s mission, vision, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. In Mississippi, charter schools are accountable to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board to expand opportunities to traditionally underserved and adhere to the purpose of the Mississippi Charter School Act of 2013.“