2009 Priority Bills

Each year, The Parents’ Campaign closely monitors and takes a position on several education bills. Below are the priority bills for the 2009 legislative session.

Bills Passed by House and Senate, Signed by Governor

House Bill 49: Full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) – base student cost
and add-on programs – as well as the National Board Certified Teacher supplement, Educable Child, and
the second phase of the pay raise for teachers with more than 25 years of experience for a total
appropriation of $2,241,137,844. The bill also provides $3-million to continue the High School Redesign
program in districts that are already participating. It does not provide the $10-million required to expand
the program to additional districts. Key components funded in this bill are as follows:
• Dyslexia Screening & Related Disorders – $1,200,000
• Mentoring – $1,800,000
• National Board Certification Supplements: $23,500,000
• Principal Corps: $200,000
• Ad-Valorem Tax Reduction: $46,000,000
• EEF/Buildings & Buses: $16,000,000
• Classroom Supply: $7,292,600
Approved by the governor on June 30.

House Bill 865: Allows the MDE to allocate $3 million of its ARRA funds to four MS school districts with financial difficulties after conservator takes over was approved by the governor on 03/20.

Senate Bill 2314: The bill authorizing local school districts to operate and expend funds for early childhood programs was approved by the governor on 03/09.

House Bill 49: Provides funding for the second phase of the pay raise for teachers with more than 25 years of experience was approved by the governor on June 30, 2009.

Senate Bill 2628: The Children First Act

  • Requires students to maintain a 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale to participate in sports or
    extracurricular activities.
  • Defines a failing school district as a district that fails to meet both the absolute student
    achievement standards and the rate of annual growth expectations as set by the State Board of
    Education for two consecutive years.
  • Requires a school district to publish an annual report in a local newspaper and on its web site by
    November 1.
  • Adds a district’s underperformance for two consecutive full school years to the list of conditions
    when the State Board may declare an extreme emergency situation. This gives authority to the
    State Board to remove a superintendent and school board members and to abolish the district
    when the governor declares an extreme emergency (granted under Section 37-17-13).
  • Establishes within MDE the Mississippi Recovery School District under the supervision of a
    Deputy Superintendent of Education to provide leadership, management and oversight of all
    school districts under state conservatorship.
  • Removes the $3 million cap on loans that may be made to the School District Emergency
    Assistance Fund in Section 37-17-6.
  • Requires local superintendents to undergo training with school board members when they are
    serving in a district with one or more underperforming schools.
  • Requires that, when a financial advisor is appointed to a school district, there is an automatic
    referral to the State Board of Public Accountancy if negligence has been suspected in an audit of
    that district.
  • Requires underperforming districts to implement such training, programs and other requirements.
  • Requires MDE to provide technical assistance to districts not meeting adequate performance,
    subject to appropriations.
  • Requires a school district that has been designated underperforming as defined by the State
    Board to establish a community-based Pre-K through higher education council.
  • Repeals Section 37-9-16, which provides for the removal of elected and appointed
    superintendents in certain circumstances, upon passage.

Approved by the governor on April 8, 2009.

Bills That Died on Calendar or in Committee

Senate Bill 2928: To use $76 million from Rainy Day Fund to restore MAEP cuts died in conference on 06/03.

House Bill 1677: Fully funds MAEP and add-ons like National Certified Teacher Supplements died in conference on 06/03.

House Bill 1383: $68 million supplemental appropriation for the current school year to make up for a majority of the cuts to the MAEP died in committee on 03/17.

House Bill 616: Authorizes local school districts to operate and expend funds for early childhood programs died on the calendar 02/12.

House Bill 1677: Fully funds MAEP and provides $3-million for Early Childhood Collaborative Grant Program died in conference on 06/03.

House Bill 1699: Appropriations bill for the Department of Human Services that funds the Quality Rating System and the Resource and Referral Network in the amount of $3 million died in conference on 06/03.

House Bill 63: Provided the Department of Human Services $3 million to fund the Quality Step System.

House Bill 1142: Targets underperforming school districts regarding: accountability, student achievement, leadership, teacher retention and recruitment, funding issues, community involvement, and other areas related to school improvement; requires students to have a 2.0 to play sports died in conference on 03/30.

Summaries of additional education bills are available from the Mississippi Department of Education: see Senate education bills here and House education bills here.

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