Danger zone hit with bills

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, February 25, 2016

bill to use state money to pay the tuition for nearly 5,000 Mississippi students to enroll in private schools failed to get out of a House Appropriations Committee this week.

The measure would have expanded a current voucher program that focuses on special-needs students in the state and assist lower income families to send their children to private school.

The committee chairman, Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, said “it was my decision” not to allow the measure to reach the House floor for a vote on Tuesday, the final day for committees to act on bills.

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Meanwhile, if those same students are in an under-performing school district that is either a D or F rating, they may be able to transfer to another public school district under House Bill 91. The receiving district would be required to accept the student as long as the district had the capacity to accept them.

This legislation has all the makings of corruption and manipulation. For example, what will prevent a school district from “cherry picking” students from under-performing school districts? Say a low-performing school district has a superstar athlete who could mean the difference in the high-performing school district winning a state title.

Legislators may have good intentions with such legislation, but it’s highly unlikely everyone will play within the rules.