Mississippi Code Title 37. Education § 37-28-23. Enrollment in charter school

(1) A charter school must be open to:

(a) Any student residing in the geographical boundaries of the school district in which the charter school is located;  and

(b) Any student who resides in the geographical boundaries of a school district that was rated “C,” “D” or “F” at the time the charter school was approved by the authorizer board, or who resides in the geographical boundaries of a school district rated “C,” or “D” or “F” at the time the student enrolls.

(2) A school district may not require any student enrolled in the school district to attend a charter school.

(3) Except as otherwise provided under subsection (8)(d) of this section, a charter school may not limit admission based on ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, income level, disabling condition, proficiency in the English language, or academic or athletic ability.

(4) A charter school may limit admission to students within a given age group or grade level, including pre-kindergarten students, and may be organized around a special emphasis, theme or concept as stated in the school's application.

(5) The underserved student composition of a charter school's enrollment collectively must reflect that of students of all ages attending the school district in which the charter school is located, to be defined for the purposes of this chapter as being at least eighty percent (80%) of that population.  If the underserved student composition of an applicant's or charter school's enrollment is less than eighty percent (80%) of the enrollment of students of all ages in the school district in which the charter school is located, despite the school's best efforts, the authorizer must consider the applicant's or charter school's recruitment efforts and the underserved student composition of the applicant pool in determining whether the applicant or charter school is operating in a nondiscriminatory manner.  A finding by the authorizer that a charter school is operating in a discriminatory manner justifies the revocation of a charter.

(6) A charter school must enroll all students who wish to attend the school unless the number of students exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level or building.

(7) If capacity is insufficient to enroll all students who wish to attend the school based on initial application, the charter school must select students through a lottery.

(8)(a) Any noncharter public school or part of a noncharter public school converting to a charter school shall adopt and maintain a policy giving an enrollment preference to students who reside within the former attendance area of that public school.  If the charter school has excess capacity after enrolling students residing within the former attendance area of the school, students outside of the former attendance area of the school, but within the geographical boundaries of the school district in which the charter school is located, are eligible for enrollment.  If the number of students applying for admission exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level or building of the charter school, the charter school must admit students on the basis of a lottery.

(b) A charter school must give an enrollment preference to students enrolled in the charter school during the preceding school year and to siblings of students already enrolled in the charter school.  An enrollment preference for returning students excludes those students from entering into a lottery.

(c) A charter school may give an enrollment preference to children of the charter school's applicant, governing board members and full-time employees, so long as those children constitute no more than ten percent (10%) of the charter school's total student population.

(d) A charter school shall give an enrollment preference to underserved children as defined in Section 37-28-5 to ensure the charter school meets its required underserved student composition.

(e) This section does not preclude the formation of a charter school whose mission is focused on serving students with disabilities, students of the same gender, students who pose such severe disciplinary problems that they warrant a specific educational program, or students who are at risk of academic failure.  If capacity is insufficient to enroll all students who wish to attend the school, the charter school must select students through a lottery.


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