More Money Available for MAEP, FL Charter Lobbyist Backing Voucher Bill

Voucher Bill Pushed by Florida For-Profit/Virtual Charter School Lobbyist
There have been plenty of clues that the voucher bill being pushed in the Mississippi Legislature is not really about helping children with special needs (as it has been framed). Yesterday, voucher supporters tipped their hand further when a tweet from the Florida lobbyists who were in our state last year pushing virtual and for-profit charter schools revealed that they are behind this voucher bill, too. Another report noted that the same bill is being pushed in other states, also backed by these lobbyists. Click here to read more. Suffice it to say that this isn’t about children with special needs; it isn’t even about Mississippi children. It’s a national movement to privatize public education and allow for-profits to cash in on the state funding that is intended to educate our kids. My friend Jim Barksdale likes to say, “If you see a snake, kill it!” This is a snake, folks. Let’s kill it! 

More Money Available for State Budget 
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee has revised the revenue estimate to increase the amount of money that the Legislature has to appropriate. The committee increased the estimates for both the current and the next fiscal years (the next fiscal year’s budget is the one being debated in this session) yielding a total of about $250-million in additional revenue that is available to budget. As I have said repeatedly, sufficient funding is available to provide a strong teacher pay raise and a significant increase in MAEP funding.

MAEP Funding 

The really good news is that, in a recorded interview (click on “Reeves: MS has more money”) this morning, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said that his priority is increasing the allocation to public education.Please join me in thanking the lieutenant governor for his commitment to our children’s education.The House and Senate must agree on the conference report, so we need to continue to urge support for a significant increase in MAEP funding. Click here to see a compelling case for adequate school funding made by retired teacher Barbie Ferguson of Clinton.
 
Teacher Pay Raise 
We have heard conflicting reports about the status of the teacher pay raise. Legislators in both chambers have said they believe the bill will die in conference, but the leaders of both chambers have indicated that they are continuing to work on a pay raise package. They need to know that you support the strongest possible pay raise for teachers! Let’s get those calls going!

Click
 here to contact your legislators through social media or email.

Ask your legislators to:

Increase significantly the MAEP funding in HB 1476

Vote ‘NO’ on vouchers (HB 765)

Support the strongest possible teacher pay raise (HB 504)

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Speaker Gunn's proposed income tax elimination jeopardizes teacher pay raises and school funding far into the future.

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