You folks have been terrific!
A big thank you to all who have called, texted, and emailed about Thursday’s education funding rally. It is shaping up to be a great day! Some important points:
This is not a “Parents’ Campaign rally.” The credit for this event goes to a wonderful group of public school supporters, citizens from a number of communities. They have done incredible work to plan and organize the rally, build a web site and Facebook page, secure the venue, arrange for parking – you name it. Hats off to them! Rally organizers have put in hundreds of hours of work and they deserve our support. So spread the word and make plans to be at the Capitol on Thursday!
“Seat at the Table” Rally
Calling for Public Participation in Any Rewrite of the School Funding Law
Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:30 a.m.
Mississippi Capitol, 2nd Floor Rotunda, Jackson, MS
(free parking available at the State Fairgrounds, southeast corner of the parking lot)
Students on spring break are welcome!
Many folks are out of town this spring break week and can’t get to the rally. So, if you, like I, are not on vacation, please make it a point to come to the Capitol – and bring your children – to call for a transparent process with public input on any changes to the education funding law. Make a day of it in the Capital City; food trucks will be on site for lunch, and numerous museums and family activities are available in close proximity to the Capitol. Find fun family activities here.
Vouchers still a threat
I know that many of you are disappointed that senators who had told you they would vote against the voucher bill, last week voted for it. Clearly, legislators have doubts about vouchers. Please keep reminding them that:
HB 1046 is a privatization bill that diverts taxpayer dollars to private academies that routinely deny admission to children they don’t want to serve.
Find contact information for legislators in your school district.
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Share the same message with Lt. Governor Reeves and Speaker Gunn:
Lt. Governor Reeves Capitol: 601.359.3200
Speaker Gunn Capitol: 601.359.3300
Senate adds MAEP funding to the K-12 bill
Today, the Senate amended the education funding bill (HB 1502) to replace the MAEP funding that was omitted from the House version earlier in the session. The Senate plan provides roughly the same amount of funding for 2017-2018 that schools received this year. While this is better than the budget cuts most state agencies will experience, some school officials tell us that receiving flat funding in the face of ever-rising costs, such as state-mandated annual teacher salary increases, will likely force them to cut programs and/or personnel. Also in the funding bill: teachers and staff in schools rated A or B, or those whose accountability ratings improved a letter grade, will receive a bonus through the newly implemented school recognition program.
All budget bills will now go to conference for final deliberations. Mississippi is in a budget crisis, due largely to hundreds of millions in corporate tax breaks handed out by our Legislature in recent years, and legislators are struggling to appropriately fund basic services, such as public schools. Leaders have reported that they continue to work on the MAEP rewrite, though neither rank and file legislators nor the public has seen a draft.
Clearly, legislators need to hear from us! Please help get a good crowd to the Capitol on March 16. Share the rally Facebook page, fill your car with friends, and head to Jackson next Thursday. We’ll be there! Will you? Let us know by emailing email@example.com.