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Public School Advocates Use a Film to Inform Community on Ed

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Public School Advocates Use a Film to Inform Community on Education Issues
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Mississippi public school advocates sit on a panel
MPB News

Advocates for public schools in Mississippi are rejecting proposals they say would privatize K-12 education in the state. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

On a giant dome screen at the Planetarium in Jackson, dozens of public school supporters from across Mississippi watched a film called "Backpack Full of Cash." The film explores what could happen when district's divert public school funds to voucher programs and charter schools -- a story many advocates believe is headed towards Mississippi.

Dennis Dupree is the Superintendent of Clarksdale Municipal School District.

"We don't have teachers. Where are the teachers going to come from? We are a very small district and
right now we're sitting at 22 teachers short. So, the charter school we think will pull away teachers, students, funds, and that's going to really create a problem," said Dupree.

Bills currently before the legislature could give parents the option to receive state aid to enroll their children in private schools, instead.
Rosaline McCoy says she wants what's best for her child, but she does not trust the private system.

"They don't provide you transportation, you've got to figure it all out by yourself. They don't have to tell you every itemized thing that's going on in their building. they don't have to release any of that information because at the end of the day they are governed by their own boards," said McCoy.

More than 90% of children are enrolled in public schools in Mississippi according to the Southern Poverty Law Center which sponsored the forum. School choice advocates say parents should have the freedom to spend public education dollars at whichever school is best at meeting their children's needs.