Full Senate Passes $1,000 Teacher Pay Raise, Increase in MAEP Funding

This morning, the full Senate passed its version of the public school appropriation bill, which provides a $206-million increase in MAEP funding and a $1,000 across-the-board teacher pay raise. The total increase over current year funding is $256-million, almost identical to the increase proposed by the House. It is wonderful that both chambers want to boost significantly the appropriation for public schools – funding that Mississippi students and teachers need and deserve! 

Please urge your legislators to work together quickly to hammer out details on HB 1823 and send school districts their budgets so they can ramp up their plans for the 2024-2025 school year.

The House has revived the INSPIRE Act by adding it to SB 2693. The bill would strip the MAEP from law and replace it with INSPIRE, which has no objective formula for the base cost for public school funding. The bill calls for the INSPIRE base cost to remain stagnant for three years, with no increase at all, while the MAEP base cost rises with inflation. The result is that, while INSPIRE calls for slightly more funding than the MAEP in its first year, in year 2, it is estimated that the MAEP would call for $60-million MORE than INSPIRE, a gap that widens with each subsequent year. By year 3, the MAEP is projected to provide $157-million more than INSPIRE, and the difference grows to $265-million by year 5. Over a 10-year span, INSPIRE funding would mean a cumulative LOSS of more than $3-billion to public schools compared to the MAEP. 

While this dramatic disinvestment in public schools may not be what the House intends, it illustrates why a complete overhaul of our school funding law needs a good bit more study, with thorough vetting in public hearings. Please reach out to your legislators about SB 2693 (INSPIRE) and the following…

This bill would harm public school children and teachers:

HB 1988, the Children’s Promise Act, which provides a massive increase in tax credits benefiting private schools, has passed the House but has not passed a Senate committee. Please ASK SENATORS TO AMEND THE BILL TO HAVE THESE TAX CREDITS BENEFIT ONLY FOSTER CARE SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS, NOT PRIVATE SCHOOLS. HB 1988 would allow an individual private school to receive up to $720,000 annually at taxpayer expense, regardless of size or enrollment, with no audits, oversight, or accountability. The smallest private schools could get more per student in state tax dollars than public schools receive.

These bills would help public school children and teachers:

HB 765 allows the Mississippi Critical Teacher Shortage Act to remain as law by extending the repeal date, expands the Winter-Reed Teacher Loan Repayment Program, and authorizes a $1,000 across-the-board teacher pay raise. ASK REPRESENTATIVES TO CONCUR.

HB 1229
 requires private voucher schools to meet the statutory requirements of the ESA voucher program and report participating student data on AP and college admissions tests and graduation and college acceptance rates in order to receive ESA funds; mandates that students be accepted by a qualifying voucher school before being added to the program’s waiting list. ASK LEGISLATORS TO SUPPORT THIS VERSION IN CONFERENCE. 

HB 1618 revives the retired teachers bill, allowing retired teachers to work full time in critical shortage areas while receiving PERS benefits. The language is added to the Senate version of the PERS bill, which keeps the PERS board intact but requires that increases be recommended to the Legislature, limiting unilateral board action, and rescinds the 2% increase in the employer contribution. The Parents’ Campaign generally does not take positions on PERS legislation, but we strongly support measures addressing the teacher shortage. ASK REPRESENTATIVES TO SUPPORT THE PROVISION ALLOWING RETIRED TEACHERS TO RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM WHILE DRAWING PERS BENEFITS.

Find contact information for legislators who represent your school district

Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Speaker White: 601.359.3300
Lt. Gov. Hosemann: 601.359.3200

Many of you have asked about the following bills on which The Parents’ Campaign has not taken a position:

  • SB 2689 replaces high school subject area tests with a college-readiness test such as the ACT for purposes of the accountability system. The Senate has invited conference on this bill.
  • SB 2691 and HB 867 were open enrollment bills that would have allowed students to attend school in districts where they do not live and do not pay taxes if the receiving district agreed. Both bills have died.

Hopefully our legislators will demonstrate their commitment to the children and teachers in Mississippi’s public schools by investing in them the $250-million increase both chambers have acknowledged is available. Please give them a call and ask them to do so. Check our Bill Tracker for updates on the bills we are following. Together, we’ve got this!

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