The new school funding plan proposed in House Bill 957 would be devastating to many school districts and would require less, over time, for the children in every school district than is required in current law.
Many of the costs to districts are hidden in the details of the bill and are not reflected in the numbers that EdBuild provided to legislators. This could be the most consequential piece of legislation passed in a decade by the Mississippi Legislature.
The components of HB 957 that are of most concern include:
requires less funding than current law requires, which is already less than what neighboring states provide their children – putting Mississippi children even further behind
contains no objective formula for determining the base student cost
does not require that funding keep pace with inflation, and makes no provision to consider a recalculation for seven years
the increase in funding projected over the next seven years is less than the increase in funding this Legislature has provided K-12 in the last six years
harms low-income school districts disproportionately:
- uses Census data as the poverty measure; Census data counts all children who are residents of the district, including those who are home-schooled and in private schools, meaning the poverty measure of a community is based on an overall higher income population than that of the public school district itself; and Census data is known to undercount low-income households – EdBuild reps agreed it is a faulty measure
imposes severe financial penalties on school districts with an attendance rate lower than 93% on days auditors make two unannounced “count” visits Read more
requires school districts to pay community colleges 100% of the base student amount for any student enrolled in a dual credit program with a community college, regardless of how few dual credit courses the student takes
inflicts serious financial consequences on districts that exceed the required student-teacher ratio (ignores impact of teacher shortage; does offer possibility of waiver or exemption)
Additionally, although the plan promises an increase over the current underfunded appropriation, leaders have said that they might take much of that increase from general education funds currently provided schools outside of the MAEP formula, further reducing total school funding.
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Share the same message with Speaker Gunn:
Speaker Gunn Capitol: 601.359.3300
Make sure your school leaders understand that the estimated allocations for your school district that EdBuild shared with legislators are not reliable. The EdBuild representative acknowledged that her numbers were “squishy” and that local officials should be sure to check them for accuracy. Some components of the bill were obviously hastily drafted, and it is impossible to tell how much funding any district might get in the next two years.
Ask your legislators to stand up for their public schools and insist on an open process and a school funding law that is objective, keeps pace with inflation, and allows Mississippi children to compete well with their peers in other states. Please make those calls today – and ask everyone you know to call! Together, we’ve got this!