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Mississippi Edition - 8/24/22 - Lawsuit Challenges Grant Program for Private Schools
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Hinds County Chancery Judge Crystal Wise Martin listens as attorney Jackie Bost with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office, unseen, defends legislation passed this session by lawmakers that allowed the state to put $10 million of federal pandemic relief money into infrastructure grants for private schools during a hearing before her, in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022. The Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, the state agency tasked with the administration of the money, is named in the lawsuit by Parents for Public Schools, an advocacy group, that says the state violates its own constitution with a grant program for private schools.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

A program created by the Mississippi Legislature to provide grants to private schools is being challenged in court by public school advocates.

During the legislative session, lawmakers passed two bills that are at the center of the legal debate. One creates a grant program to fund infrastructure projects for institutional members of the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools. The other bill allocates $10 million of federal coronavirus relief funding for that program.

Lawyers representing Parents for Public Schools say such a program violates the state constitution.