More students would be able to attend charter schools in Mississippi under a bill that a spokesman says Gov. Phil Bryant will sign.

The Senate voted 24-21 Thursday to agree to House changes to Senate Bill 2161, which would allow students in Mississippi school districts with academic ratings of C, D or F to cross district lines to attend charter schools elsewhere in the state. With four Republicans opposing the measure and seven not voting, the bill went to Bryant only on the strength of three Democratic votes.

Mississippi’s charter law, passed in 2013, said only students from within a public school district could enroll in a charter school there. Supporters of expansion say that’s created obstacles to establishing the schools, which are an alternative form of public school run by private nonprofit groups, in rural areas with small districts. So far, two charter schools opened in Jackson in August, the state’s second-largest school district, and two more have been approved for the city. None has been approved anywhere else.

The Senate had originally passed a bill saying any student could enroll in any charter school statewide, but the House trimmed that language.



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