Skip to main content

To make Press Center inquiries, email press@splcenter.org

SPLC Charter Schools Lawsuit Heads to Mississippi Supreme Court

Lawsuit Argues Mississippi Charter Schools Act Funding Scheme is Unconstitutional

JACKSON, Miss. – Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will argue before the Mississippi Supreme Court to stop a funding scheme that diverts millions of local property tax dollars away from public schools and to privately operated charter schools. 
     
The lawsuit, filed in 2016, states that the funding provision of the Mississippi Charter Schools Act violates Section 206 of the state constitution, which allows a school district to levy property taxes “to maintain its schools.” SPLC Senior Supervising Attorney Christine Bischoff will argue the case on behalf of parents of children who attend schools in the Jackson Public School District. 
     
“The state constitution could not be clearer on this issue,” Bischoff said. “Local property tax dollars cannot be used to fund schools that are not a part of the local school district. We are simply asking the court to uphold the law.”
     
As result of the Mississippi Charter Schools Act, nearly $8.7 million has been diverted from the Jackson Public School District to the area’s four charter schools over the last four years. Three new charter schools are scheduled to open in the district by the 2020-21 school year. 
     
Oral argument will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Gartin Justice Building, 450 High Street in Jackson, MS. Bischoff and plaintiffs in the case will be available for comment immediately following oral argument.
     
To watch live online, please visit the Mississippi Supreme Court website at: https://livestream.com/supremecourtofms/2018-CA-00235-SCT