The Legislative Budget Office tells us that the Legislature has an extra $1-billion to spend in the 2023 Legislative Session. Even better, these are recurring dollars – the Budget Office expects this funding to continue in coming years.
That extra billion is 3 times what is needed to fully fund the MAEP for the 2023-2024 school year. Our children can, at long last, get the school funding they need and deserve!
But some legislators aren’t yet convinced. That’s where you come in…
When lots of money is available, lots of special interests show up to lobby legislators. We need to be clear that we want our public schools to be legislators’ TOP priority. We want full funding and we want public funds to go to PUBLIC schools (not private).
And for heaven’s sake, we want teachers to be trusted to do their jobs. The same national groups that push vouchers are pushing bills that are filled with mandates for public schools – mandates that would create massive amounts of paperwork for teachers, taking valuable time away from students. Legislators need to know that you oppose this bureaucratic overreach.
Please call your legislators today with this message:
1. Fully fund public schools
2. Keep public funds in PUBLIC schools
3. Let teachers teach – stop the bureaucratic overreach
Find contact information for legislators who represent your school district
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Send the same message to House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann.
Speaker Gunn: 601.359.3300
Lt. Gov. Hosemann: 601.359.3200
In recent years, the MAEP funding the Legislature has appropriated hasn’t even covered the cost of teacher salaries statewide, let alone all the other things students and teachers need to thrive: smaller classes, dyslexia therapists, STEM programs, technology upgrades, mental health services, interventions for struggling students… The list is long. Full funding will fix that.
One of the best things about MAEP funding is its flexibility. Every community is unique, and that means the needs of local schools vary greatly from one Mississippi hometown to another. FULL MAEP funding would allow local schools to meet the changing needs of our own communities. Underfunding leaves our local schools to make hard decisions about which programs to fund and which to cut.
Which is why we need your help. Clearly, the money is there. “We can’t afford it” will no longer fly as an excuse for underfunding.
Legislators need to know that we are paying attention, and they need to know we will have their backs in the coming election when they fully fund our public schools.
Speaking of the coming election, the deadline to qualify to run for the Legislature is next Wednesday, February 1. If you are happy with your legislators, volunteer to help with their campaigns. If you are unhappy with your legislators, you’ve got less than a week to find someone to run for that seat.
In the meantime, make sure your legislators understand your priorities for this legislative session. Give them a call, and ask everyone you know to call. We’ll be watching the bills that come out of committee and keeping you in the loop. Because, together, we’ve got this!