Conferees have not come to an agreement on the K-12 funding bill, and so a “dummy” bill (a placeholder bill with all zeros) was filed to meet tonight’s 8pm deadline. A conference report with the actual numbers will be filed once an agreement is reached.
The hang-up appears to be over whether or not to provide a slight increase in MAEP funding, the funding for teacher salaries, classrooms, and instructional materials. House Education Chairman Richard Bennett, who has fought hard for increased funding for the coming year’s appropriation, expressed optimism that conferees would agree on a modest improvement.
Here’s some perspective…
- The MAEP appropriation for the 2016-2017 school year was “level,” the same as the year before. But revenue plummeted that year due to tax cuts, and schools had their budgets cut $20-million mid-year.
- The MAEP appropriation for 2017-2018, the current school year, was cut another $20-million.
- If schools see no increase this year, their funding will be $40-million below what they received two years ago, and $245-million below what Mississippi law says is adequate for schools to meet the benchmarks required of them.
- During debate of the school funding law rewrite, the House and Senate Education chairs said that schools would be provided an additional $8.2-million above current-year MAEP funding.
- Yesterday, legislative leaders adopted an increase in the revenue estimate, giving them more money to spend than had previously been expected.
- Mississippi spends about $1,300 less per k-12 student than our neighbor states of Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
It’s time for our legislators to grab their capes – our children need a superhero to protect their futures!
Ask your legislators to stand with our public school children again and ensure them at least the $8.2-million above level MAEP funding that was promised earlier in the session:
Find contact information for legislators
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
This evening, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves opined that the K-12 appropriations bill should have increased funding, but NOT in the MAEP, the core funding for schools and classrooms. This is in line with comments he made several weeks ago when he appeared to threaten to reduce school funding in retaliation for the defeat of the school funding law rewrite. Please remind Lt. Gov. Reeves that our children need more funding for their classrooms, and that is provided through the MAEP.
Lt. Governor Reeves Capitol: 601.359.3200
We ask so much of our teachers and students; our children deserve the very best investment that we can make in their futures. Revenue is improving, as the increased revenue estimate shows. We can’t afford to shortchange our children’s education.
Legislators will return to the Capitol tomorrow at 2pm. Please ask everyone you know to call their legislators and Lt. Gov. Reeves and ask them to stand with our children and a brighter future for our state.