Federal Legislation Could Result in Additional $180-million for K-12 Education
Updated 8/31/10:

Governor Barbour issued a statement this afternoon indicating that the leadership of both the House and Senate have agreed to carry forward to the next fiscal year, FY2012, the approximately $130-million in state funding that state leaders have estimated will be freed up by the FMAP legislation recently passed by the U.S. Congress.  The Mississippi Legislature passed in the 2010 Regular Session of the Legislature an alternate budget that was to take effect if such legislation was passed.  The alternate budget laid out in HB1059 would have sent $82-million in additional funding to our public schools for use in the current year.  It appears that those funds will now be carried over to be appropriated in the next legislative session.

Updated 8/4/10:

The offsets for the federal FMAP/Education Jobs bill described below have been adjusted to ensure that the cost of the bill is fully covered.  The Congressional Budget Office has determined, in fact, that the bill will reduce the deficit over 10 years.  In order to offset the cost of the bill, the time period alloted for the increased food stamps benefit has been shortened, and a federal loophole that allowed U.S. based multi-national corporations to move their operations offshore and avoid paying U.S. taxes has been closed.  Some have referred to the closing of this loophole as a tax increase for business.

Updated 8/3/10:

Initial analysis of the FMAP extension/education jobs amendment to HR 1586 indicated that the bill had been fully paid for and would not add to the federal deficit.  When the more rigorous analysis by the Congressional Budget Office came in closer to yesterday's scheduled vote, it indicated that some of the cuts that had been made to offset the cost of the bill did not produce as much in savings as had been originally thought.  Therefore, those backing the bill canceled yesterday's vote and went back to the drawing board to make cuts to other areas in order to ensure that the bill will, in fact, be fully paid for and will not add to the deficit.  A vote on the amendment is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.

Posted 7/19/10, Updated 8/1/2010:

It appears that the U.S. Senate will vote on Monday, August 2nd, on the federal legislation that would generate up to $180-million in state funding for Mississippi's K-12 education system.  We need your help to get those dollars to our schools.

As you know, when our State Legislature passed the funding bill for the coming school year, it included a provision that would direct additional funds to our public schools if Congress passed legislation to extend the enhanced federal match for Medicaid (enhanced FMAP)  that is in place through December of this year.  Monday's vote could extend the enhanced match through June 30, 2011.  That move would save Mississippi approximately $151-million in Medicaid costs for the coming fiscal year, and those funds would then be appropriated to other state agencies, including K-12.  Mississippi House Bill 1059 calls for $82-million of the freed-up funds to be added to the K-12 appropriation.

Additionally, the legislation that will be decided Monday includes a provision that would generate another $98-million for education jobs in Mississippi - funding that would go to school districts to rehire or hire new employees.

It is no longer tied to the broader jobs bill that Congress has been considering, and it has been fully paid for with offsets from unspent or unobligated ARRA funds.  No additional taxes would be necessary to cover the cost of this bill, and it will NOT add to the federal deficit.

Please call Senators Cochran and Wicker and ask that they vote for the substitute amendment to HR 1586, extending the enhanced FMAP and generating desperately-needed funding for Mississippi schools.  You can contact our senators at the numbers listed below.

Senator Thad Cochran
Senator Roger Wicker

In a matter of days, our children will return to school.  In most cases, they will be starting the year with larger classes and fewer support programs.  We are in danger of losing important ground that we have gained in student achievement over the past few years.  The additional funding generated by this federal legislation would provide additional resources our teachers need to do their jobs well.

This year our schools are operating on budgets that provide far less than what is required to adequately educate our children.  In the most recent legislative session, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program was underfunded by $232-million.  The $180-million that could be generated by passage of the substitute amendment to HR 1586 will help to fill that budget hole.  Please call Senators Cochran and Wicker today and ask that they support the substitute amendment to HR 1586 and generate significant funding for Mississippi's public schools.