Ad Valorem Tax Reduction
A portion of a school district’s budget is made up of local ad valorem tax dollars (property taxes). This is often referred to as the local contribution. The Mississippi Legislature appropriates state dollars to offset (reduce) part of the local ad valorem tax.
Chickasaw Cession funding is an annual appropriation by the State Legislature intended to compensate school districts that have no Sixteenth Section land as a source of income. The treaty with the Chickasaw Indian Nation ceding their land to the United States failed to specifically reserve Sixteenth Sections, and when the lands were later sold by the government, no provision was made for the reservation of school trust lands. Later, the United States granted the State of Mississippi lieu land as compensation for this error. However, this lieu land was sold by the state, and the money invested in railroad bonds. The investment was lost during the Civil War.
When the House of Representatives and the Senate fail to agree on any portion of a piece of legislation, conference can be invited by the chamber in which the bill originated in order to work out the differences. When conference is invited, a conference committee is formed to negotiate the compromise. The conference committee is made up of three members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House and three members of the Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor.
Once a compromise has been reached, the committee issues a conference report which must be signed by at least 2 of the House conferees and 2 of the Senate conferees. The conference report then goes to each chamber for adoption of the full report. A conference report cannot be amended by the full House or Senate, but it can be returned to the conference committee for revision if a chamber votes not to adopt the report.
High Growth Formula
A school district’s Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) allocation is determined by multiplying the state’s portion of the base student cost by the district’s average daily attendance. The average daily attendance figures that are used are those from the fall semester preceding the legislative session in which the appropriation is decided. The high growth formula was established to address the fact that school districts in which enrollment had increased from one year to the next had received no funding for those new students.
A school district is considered a “high growth district” if it has had any increase in enrollment for 3 consecutive years. The formula predicts the district’s likely growth for the following year by averaging the growth for the 3 consecutive prior years, and that average growth is funded according to the base student cost that is determined by the MAEP formula.
The same dollar amount in state funding will be appropriated for the next fiscal year as was appropriated for the current fiscal year. The term “level funding” is typically used when the Legislature fails to provide all of the funding that state law requires in the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP). The MAEP has been under-funded by more than $2-billion in recent years, well below what the law considers adequate for students and teachers to meet the academic standards set forth by the State Board of Education.
Maintenance of Effort
A Maintenance of Effort provision requires that an entity continue to “do its fair share” in providing funding to an agency under its jurisdiction in order to be eligible for financial assistance for that agency from another entity. For example, federal funding often comes with a Maintenance of Effort provision that requires states to continue to meet a certain level of funding for a state agency, such as education, in order to be eligible for federal funds to assist Mississippi’s public schools.
Motion to Reconsider
When a bill is held on a motion to reconsider, the bill is placed back on the calendar and cannot move forward until the chamber again takes it up on the floor for additional debate. This provides an opportunity for members to change their votes on the bill.
Often, when the bill is brought back up, the person who handled the bill on the floor initially will make a motion to table (or defeat) the motion to reconsider. If the motion to table the motion to reconsider passes, the previous vote stands and the bill moves forward according to the original vote. If the motion to table the motion to reconsider fails, the bill can be brought back up on the floor for debate and a new vote on the bill can be taken.
If the motion to reconsider was made by the legislator handling the bill, that legislator might, when taking the bill back up, attempt to have defeated an amendment that was made to the original bill. In that case, the legislator will request a re-vote on the amendment.
A repealer is provision included in a statute that sets a date on which that law is repealed, or ceases to be in effect. This provision is used when the law is needed only for a certain period of time or to force the Legislature to revisit the issue in order for the statute to continue as a law.
A reverse repealer sets the revocation of the law the day before the law is to be enacted – killing the bill before it ever becomes law. A reverse repealer is most often inserted in a bill to ensure that it cannot become law without the legislation being returned to the originating chamber for additional revisions. When any change is made to a bill, both chambers must agree to those changes before the bill can go to the governor to be signed into law – including the removal of a reverse repealer.
A “strike-all” amendment strikes, or removes, all of the language in a bill and replaces it with new language. Because all of the bill’s language is changed with a strike-all amendment, the intent of the bill is, in some cases, altered completely, though the bill retains its original number and often its title.
Typically, a strike-all amendment is proposed when a bill has moved from one chamber to the other. For example, a House committee might propose a strike-all amendment to a Senate bill, removing the Senate language and replacing it with the House position.
If a strike-all amendment is adopted by the chamber in which it is proposed, the language in the strike-all becomes the language in the bill. The bill then goes back to the chamber in which it originated for concurrence or non-concurrence. If the strike-all amendment is defeated, the bill remains in its original state. If nothing in the bill has been altered by the second chamber, it is transferred directly to the governor for his or her signature.