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Lawmakers debating new charter school legislation

JACKSON — With even opponents conceding that a bill expanding charter schools in Mississippi is likely to pass, lawmakers are trying to hash out details of a new law.

The alternative public schools promise high academic performance in exchange for freedom from rules governing regular public schools. But witnesses told House and Senate members yesterday that rules for charter schools in Mississippi could determine whether they succeed.

Among issues raised at a hearing is whether the Mississippi Department of Education or some other body should approve new charter schools and review their performance. Also under discussion is whether charter schools should only be allowed in areas where current schools are underperforming, whether the number of charter schools statewide should be limited, and how much state money a charter school should get.

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