State likely to release Aberdeen schools back to local control

The State Board of Education on Friday will decide whether to turn the Aberdeen School District back over to the local community. Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in the school district in April of 2012 due to serious leadership, management and instructional concerns, along with serious violations of accreditation standards, board policy and state laws. The board will vote whether to approve a resolution to request that Bryant lift the state of emergency. “In June of 2016, five individuals were appointed to form the new Board of the Aberdeen School District and they have worked with the Conservator during the past year to prepare them for assuming full responsibility of the district,” Board Chair Rosemary Aultman wrote in a draft letter to Bryant asking him to lift the state of emergency. “The board members have since drawn lots …

Four potential charter schools move forward

Four charter operators have moved to the next stage of the application process after the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board approved the proposals for completeness on Monday. All four applicants — Clarksdale Collegiate, KC Schools Inc., Shades of Elegance and SR1 — are new operators vying to open schools in Clarksdale, South Pike, Sunflower County and Canton school districts, respectively. If approved, all schools would open in the 2018-2019 school year. The deadline for completed proposals was May 9. The board rejected the applications of Girls Club and Learning Center, which sought to open a pre-kindergarten through 5th grade school in Greenwood, and Success Prep Incorporated, which sought to open a K-12 school in Jackson.

School funding lawsuit hearing is Wednesday

More than a year after the last action in the case, Mississippi Supreme Court justices will hear arguments from both sides of a lawsuit that seeks to require the state to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Former Democratic governor Ronnie Musgrove filed the lawsuit on behalf of 21 school districts, including Jackson Public Schools, in 2014. Hinds County Chancery Judge William Singletary ruled against Musgrove and the school districts in 2015, stating that the Legislature is not required to fully fund the school funding formula every year. The lawsuit also sought for the state to repay the districts the amount they had been underfunded according to the formula. The MAEP has been fully funded only twice since becoming law in 1997. The plaintiffs appealed Singletary’s ruling and are seeking a favorable decision from the Supreme Court.