A charter school will open for Mississippi high school students for the first time after the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board approved Clarksdale Collegiate Prep’s application to begin serving 9-12 students in fall 2025. Clarksdale Collegiate already serves students in grades kindergarten through seventh.
“We’re here in order to make sure that we are fulfilling the promise that we made to scholars back in 2017 and ‘18 when we were signing some of these scholars up for our school,” Clarksdale Collegiate Public Charter School Executive Director Amanda Johnson told the board at its meeting on Sept. 25 in a room filled with students and employees. “We told the parents that we were putting their child on a path to go to college. … We believe that work (of opening a high school) is worthy and that our scholars, and scholars of the Delta, deserve the absolute best.”
Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board Executive Director Lisa Karamacharya told the Mississippi Free Press that opening a charter high school is expensive due to the number of teachers needed to meet the Carnegie unit requirements and added academic and extracurricular activities.
“We had a high school that was approved back in 2017 that was never able to make it over that hump simply because of the expense,” she said on Oct. 10.
Although charter schools gained popularity in many other states in the 1990s, they only recently gained traction in Mississippi. Former Gov. Phil Bryant signed the Mississippi Charter Schools Act in 2013, creating the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board. The board approves and denies charter school petitions and ensures compliance with standards, statutory requirements and assessments of existing state charters. Charter schools are publicly funded schools but they are allowed to operate with more flexibility in curriculum, administration and hiring.
The first charter schools, Midtown Public and Reimagine Prep, opened in 2015 serving middle school students in Jackson. There are now 10 authorized charter schools in the state.
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