We are in the final stretch of the 2015 Legislative Session. The deadline for initial conference reports to be filed on funding and revenue bills is tomorrow, but those first reports are sometimes sent back for more work. The deadline for conference reports to be filed on general bills is Monday. Legislators will be working at the Capitol over the weekend as they move toward the final deadlines.
The bills we are watching during the conference process are:
HB 471 – Using average daily membership (enrollment) rather than attendance to calculate the school funding formula (MAEP).
SB 2161 – Mandating a move away from the Common Core State Standards.
SB 2300 – Technical bill defining how funding flows to charter schools; amended to include pay raise for teacher assistants.
HB 434 – Budget transfer bill; could be amended to include additional funding for K-12 education.
Please continue to have conversations with your legislators about the impact of these bills on your school district:
Find contact information for all of the legislators who represent your school district here.
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Lt. Governor Reeves Capitol: 601.359.3200
Speaker Gunn Capitol: 601.359.3300
According to local superintendents and business managers this week, the bottom line is this… almost all of our school districts find themselves under water with the K-12 budget bill that the governor signed this week. The cost of the teacher pay raises and the annual step increases are more than the increases in state funding they will receive. The other unfunded mandates only make it worse. This has been the case for years; school districts have been going further backward with every new budget year. Many are now so desperate that they are once again talking about laying off personnel, always a last resort.
We’ve got a few days left. Let’s lift our voices and leave no doubt that we are fed up with our children’s education being sacrificed to benefit the corporate privatizers. Let’s be sure that our elected officials understand that we will not stop fighting until all of our kids – and that means ALL – get what they deserve: fully funded public schools and a decent shot at a bright future.
I’ll keep you posted as we move through this final week. In the meantime, you can find updates on our website and Facebook, follow my tweets, and join the Fed Up movement! Thank you so very much for speaking up for our kids!