Senate Bill 2675, the ESA voucher bill, passed the Senate today on a vote of 37 to 13.
The bill will now go to the House. Please ask your representative to VOTE NO on 2675.
Share the same message with Speaker Philip Gunn Capitol: 601.359.3300
SB 2675 is an affront to legislators and voters and is dangerous in two ways:
The bill circumvents the legislative process and the will of the people by extending the repealer date to 2024, beyond the end of the next legislative term. The goal is to avoid having the people you elect in November weigh in on this voucher program. Current statute has a repealer set for the year 2020 to have the legislators we elect in November take another look at the law, ensure that it is working properly, and, if not, make changes. The move to extend the repealer is likely in response to a damning PEER report that exposed the ESA voucher program as one that benefits private schools at the expense of children.
The bill was made worse by a well-intentioned but dangerous amendment that was added on the Senate floor today. The amendment was intended only to send unused voucher money to the public school district when a voucher student returns to a public school. However, the effect of the amendment was to add to the bill a section of law that opens the statute to “vouchers for all” amendments that could send tens of millions of public school dollars to unaccountable private schools.
Teacher Pay Raise
The Senate passed a teacher pay raise yesterday that provides a lump sum increase for teachers and teacher assistants in December of each year, $500 in 2019 and $1,000 every year thereafter. Though the amendment posted online made it appear that this would be only a two-year bonus, Senate leadership has indicated that the intent is to continue the bonus annually moving forward. The Senate position keeps the teacher salary schedule at its current offensively low level. We are counting on the House of Representatives to redeem the Legislature and pass a meaningful pay raise that will help to stem Mississippi’s teacher shortage crisis!
Please ask your friends and family to join our effort to support and strengthen public schools! Be sure to forward our emails, share our Facebook posts, and retweet us on Twitter. And don’t forget to ask your representative to vote NO on SB 2675 and YES to a meaningful pay raise. Together, we’ve got this!