“One of the things I know the Legislature doesn’t want to do is have this as a dictatorial formula – one that says you shall fund it every year.” Governor Phil Bryant per the Associated Press
That pretty well sums it up.
Late this afternoon on deadline day, the Senate Education Committee and the House Appropriations Committee took up and passed their MAEP revamp bills. Both were “dummy” bills that brought forward the current law for unidentified changes to be made at a later date. Both added language addressing a new school accounting system, but the chairmen acknowledged that they could not predict what changes would be made to the MAEP. It is inconceivable that legislators would vote to move forward such a massive overhaul of school funding without knowing what the changes will be.
On the House side, Rep. Steve Holland offered an amendment to change the bill’s “effective” date to July 1, 2018, giving the Legislature a year to engage the public in a serious, deliberative process concerning the MAEP revamp. The amendment failed on a vote of 6-19 and the final dummy bill passed on a voice vote.
Sen. David Blount offered a motion to table, or kill, the Senate bill, but that amendment failed, as well. The Senate dummy bill passed the Education Committee on a vote of 10-4.
Of great concern are the statements made by the Lt. Governor and the Governor that they don’t want any formula in the law that would require a set amount of funding for public schools. They want full discretion to fund schools at whatever level they wish.
Both bills will now head to the floor for a vote. House Appropriations Chairman Read announced that all bills handled by his committee (including the MAEP dummy bill) will be taken up on the floor tomorrow (Wednesday). Please contact your legislators right away and ask them to vote no on SB 2607 and HB 1294. Something as important as funding for our children’s education deserves a thorough and open process.
The lists below include additional troublesome bills passed out of committee that will be taken up on the House or Senate floor over the next nine days.
Please ask your senator to:
• SB 2607 – Vote no. MAEP revamp “dummy” bill. Brings forward current statute for revisions without specifying changes.
• SB 2036 – Vote no. Requires school board members who are currently elected to stand for election at the time of the statewide election every four years (no staggered terms), paves the way for out-of-state privatizers to recruit and fund candidates and take over your local school board.
Please ask your representative to:
• HB 1294 – Vote no. MAEP revamp “dummy” bill. Brings forward current statute for revisions without specifying changes.
• HB 1036 – Vote no. Expands dyslexia vouchers to private schools (currently only available for special purpose dyslexia schools).
• HB 267 – Vote no. Changes the way school board members are selected. ( Electing all board members at the time of the general or presidential election paves the way for out-of-state privatizers to recruit and fund candidates and take over your local school board.)
• HB 293 – Vote no. Shortens school year by ten days. (Research shows that sufficient time on task is a significant indicator in student achievement.)
• HB 580 – Vote no. Brings forward current statute related to virtual schools, for unidentified changes. (Could be amended to allow virtual charters.)
Find contact information for legislators who represent your school district.
You may leave a message with the Capitol switchboard at: 601.359.3770
Share the same message with Lt. Governor Reeves, Capitol: 601.359.3200, and Speaker Gunn, Capitol: 601.359.3300.
Legislators need to know that you are watching their votes and that you care deeply about these issues. Please spread the word and make those calls!