The judge in the charter school lawsuit has rejected the Jackson Public School District’s attempt to dismiss itself from the case.

The district, which is listed as a defendant along with Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Department of Education and three intervenor defendants, argued that it is compliant with current law and that its presence in the lawsuit is unnecessary for the case’s resolution.

“While JPS takes no position regarding the ultimate constitutionality of the relevant code section, it will continue to make such payments absent action by this Court or the legislature. Accordingly, relief may not be afforded to the Plaintiffs herein without the presence of JPS as a party,” stated the order from Hinds County Chancery Court Judge Dewayne Thomas.

A group of Jackson parents represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit last year. They allege funding of charter schools is unconstitutional and harmful to students in the Jackson Public School District.

Thomas will issue a ruling on all parties’ motions after June 21.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.