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    24 Aug 2016

    Parents suing State of Mississippi about charter schools receiving public money

    Should charter schools receive taxpayer money?
    That’s the question that a group of Jackson parents want answered and quickly.
    Those parents are suing the state.
    The Southern Poverty Law center announced they’ve asked a Hinds County judge for a summary judgement.
    They hope to speed up the process to determine if charter schools can constitutionally receive tax payer money.
    Parents and lawyers want a decision and fast.
    The Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit against the state in July saying that money taken from the Jackson Public School District and given to charter schools is unconstitutional and that property taxes shouldn’t be shared with schools they don’t control.
    Cassandra Overton-Welchlin is one of the plaintiffs.
    She has three children in the Jackson Public School District.
    Two of them have disabilities.
    “My daughter who is pretty sassy and has Global Childhood Apraxia, her disability is very complicated and compacted. The district has been required and asked to purchase and implement special tools and equipment for her to communicate,” said Overton-Welchlin.
    But, Overton-Welchlin says it’s been her experience that JPS has lacked resources to train staff to use the technology her daughter needs.
    “But we also know that the district is required to provide those services. But because of the lack of resources, there have been some challenges. I fear as they continue to drain funding from JPS, charter schools will exacerbate the districts situation,” said Overton-Welchlin.
    SPLC is asking Hinds County Chancery Judge Dewayne Thomas for a summary judgment.
    But Governor Phil Bryant, who is named in the suit, says taxpayer money should go to the schools; even though they are run by private, non-profit groups.
    “Because they’re public schools. They’re under public school authority. Those children’s parents pay taxes. They expect their children to get a good education. This is a method to help those inner-city youth that have been failed, that have failed in those public schools that are not prepared for their needs,” said Governor Phil Bryant.

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