An expansion of charter schools is high on Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves' legislative agenda, under which charter school legislation would expand considerably throughout the state as parental groups seek to lay foundations for news schools to provide an alternative to traditional schools that are under-performing, writes Phil West at Commercial Appeal.
Bryant also expressed the expansion of charter schools as a legislative priority when presenting his budget proposal to legislators.
"Job creation must be the number one priority in our state, bringing better and higher paying jobs to our state, but intrinsic within that is we must improve the educational outcomes of our kids."
A well-founded charter school law would, "provide educational choices for our parents and increase student achievement," Reeves said.
"The general principles that I will support give broad flexibility for the creation of charter schools, but I also believe that any applicants must have a proven track record of success."
Reeves revealed that he will support legislation for charter schools to require independent commission authorization, so that state funds would see their way to the child rather than sitting with the traditional school district, he said.
The initial step toward advancing educational outcomes is the consolidation of Sunflower's three school districts — Indianola, Drew and Sunflower — into one, Reeves continued.
He noted that all three districts are currently under state control and recommended that they be joined by an elected school superintendent.
Governor Bryant also recommended a re-visitation of the practice of retained two percent of revenues for the state's Working Cash Stabilization Fund.
"I am pleased that Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has included in his legislative agenda many items that I supported as lieutenant governor and now as governor," Bryant said.
"I hope the Legislature, as recommended both by Lt. Gov. Reeves and by my executive budget recommendation, will set aside 2 percent of general fund revenues to bolster state reserves in these tough economic times."
Bryant and Reeves back legislation which would require any person who is made aware of the sexual or physical abuse of a child is to report the incident or consequently face civil and criminal penalties.
As part of his ambition to see more clarity and accountability in government, Reeves said that the state attorney general — Atty. Gen. Jim Hood, the only Democrat in a state-wide elected position — should notify departments and agencies when he is pursuing legal matters pertaining to them.
"I support providing state agencies with the authority to hire and pay outside legal counsel within their own existing budgets," Reeves said.