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SENATE PASSES PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL LEGISLATION

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Bryant wants law to enable public charter schools to form in failing school districts

JACKSON –Mississippi fourth- and eighth-graders have the lowest math and reading scores in the nation, according to findings by the National Assessment of Education Progress. This needs to be changed, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant said. “One way to improve education and the report card of Mississippi’s students is through public charter schools,” Bryant said. The Senate approved SB 2774, 34 to 17, providing the possibility for public charter schools in Mississippi. Bryant, an advocate for public charter schools, said the bill provides an opportunity for failing public schools to convert to open-enrollment public charter schools at the will of the community. “Public charter schools give local communities a chance to improve their schools in failing schools districts,” Bryant said. “No child should be left behind and potentially miss out on a great education.” SB 2774 provides that public charter schools enter into an agreement with local and state government to meet certain student performance benchmarks in exchange for per-pupil funding for students. Public charter school advocates say this freedom from the traditional bureaucratic red tape allows for healthy competition and opens the channel for innovative ways of introducing new ideas to the classroom. Public charter schools have to meet the same academic standards as traditional public schools. The Mississippi Legislature passed a version last year that was highly restrictive. It placed restrictions that would virtually make it impossible for a school to convert. Mississippi’s current charter school bill has been called the worst in the nation by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. SB 2774 also states: • A conversion charter school receives state and local funds in the same manner as other public schools in the district. • Charter schools shall not levy taxes or issue bonds. • Charter schools are authorized to provide virtual services. • Employees of a conversion charter school and employees of an open-enrollment public charter school are considered employees of the charter school. • If a charter is revoked for any reason, the teachers of that charter school are given priority in being rehired by the local school district. • Local school districts are prohibited from taking any retaliatory action against teachers for involvement in a public charter school. SB 2774 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. SB 2774, Author: Michael Watson R- Pascagoula -http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2011/pdf/history/SB/SB2774.xml]]]]> ]]>

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Vicksburg accepts award for Best Water Treatment Plant in Mississippi

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water treatment plant award
Eddie Busby of ESG Operations, Hunter Arnold of the American Water Association, South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, Director of Public Works Garnet Van Norman, North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield, and Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs (photo by Thomas Parker).

Vicksburg officials were on hand Thursday morning to accept an award for the Best Water Treatment Plant of the year.

The ceremony was held at the Vicksburg Water Plant, 601 Haining Road, at 10 a.m. Thursday.

water treatment plant award

(photo by Thomas Parker)

Hunter Arnold of the American Water Association and Eddie Busby of ESG Operations presented the award to Vicksburg’s Director of Public Works Garnet Van Norman, Mayor George Flaggs Jr., and aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Monsour.

This is the city’s second consecutive year to win this award for Mississippi, which cites overall water quality, plant improvements, energy efficiency and regulatory conformance as criteria for the selection.

 

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Judge and son both dead after shootings in Moss Point

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Justice Court Judge Sheila Jackson Osgood (photo from her campaign page)

A Justice Court judge in Moss Point, Mississippi, was killed Wednesday. Her son, the suspect in her homicide, is also dead at the hands of police.

Moss Point police officers found long time Justice Court Judge Sheila Jackson Osgood, 65, murdered Wednesday. The man suspected of her murder is Gregory Jackson Jr. her 45-year-old son. Jackson was shot and killed by police officers.

At approximately 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Moss Point police officers were dispatched to the 3600 block of Davis Street for a welfare check. The officers checked the home but did not contact anyone there.

According to a press release from the Moss Point Police Department, officers were again dispatched to the residence about an hour later, this time for a disturbance. The officers heard gunshots after they arrived, and as they approached the door of the house, Jackson charged them brandishing a large knife. He did not respond to several demands from officers to drop his weapon and continued to advance on them. The officers shot Jackson, fatally wounding him.

Officers then entered the residence and found Judge Osgood laying on the floor, the apparent victim of a homicide.

The shootings are under investigation by the Jackson County district attorney’s office, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department. In accordance with Moss Point Police Department policy, the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending a thorough investigation by an outside agency. The names of the officers will be withheld until the case is presented to the grand jury. No officers were injured during this incident.

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Mississippi high school football coach dies in car crash

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A Mississippi high school football coach was involved in a deadly car crash Wednesday that ended his life.

Southeast Lauderdale High School head coach Calvin Hampton died after his car collided with an 18-wheeler on Mississippi Highway 19.

The school released the following statement on its Facebook page shortly after Hampton’s death was confirmed:

“It is with great sadness that we pass along the news of the loss of Coach Calvin Hampton. Coach Hampton was loved by many in our community, county, and city. Please remember his family and everyone who cared about and loved Coach Hampton in the days ahead. All school functions for the rest of the day are canceled. Grief counselors will be available when classes resume tomorrow.”

Hampton was in the middle of his second season as head coach at Southeast Lauderdale at the time of his death. The Tigers are scheduled to play Kemper County Friday.

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