The next four days are critical. By Monday, we should know whether our legislators, with piles of our tax dollars already in the bank and an extra $1-billion coming in annually, have made good on their promise to provide our students and teachers the resources they need to succeed.
Monday is the deadline for the final vote on the preK-12 funding bill, with the first draft due to the full Legislature no later than 8:00 p.m. Saturday.
Please keep calling – we are seeing signs that it is helping. Today, House Education Chair Richard Bennett invited conference on HB 1369, the bill that includes minor adjustments to the MAEP, and many of you report that your reps are voicing strong support for fully funding our public schools.
Let’s get this done! Set a reminder on your cell phone to call every day between now and Monday to check the status of our school funding bill.
Ask your legislators EVERY DAY:
HAVE YOU FULLY FUNDED OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS YET?
Find contact information for legislators in your school district: https://msparentscampaign.org/legislators-by-school-district/#list
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Speaker Philip Gunn: 601.359.3300
House Appropriations Chair John Read: 601.359.3340
Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann: 601.359.3200
Senate Appropriations Chair Briggs Hopson: 601.359.3250
The Legislature has an extra $1-billion in recurring revenue to spend this legislative session – that’s four times what is needed to fully fund the MAEP. With federal pandemic funds being depleted, staff and programs will be lost if legislators don’t come through with additional money for schools.
All other bills that we are tracking have also gone to conference.
ASK LEGISLATORS TO SUPPORT THESE BILLS:
HB 817: increases per-student funding for Early Learning Collaboratives to no less than $2,500 for full-day and $1,250 for half-day programs
HB 1365: prohibits school districts from paying assistant teachers below the statewide minimum salary; specifically prohibits salary reductions in the school year following a state-funded salary increase; any district violating provisions will have MAEP funds reduced; early version of bill included $3,000 annual salary increase for assistant teachers
HB 1369: makes technical changes to MAEP for the purposes of fully funding the formula; raises the local contribution cap from 27% to 29.5%, enhancing the equity provision; adjusts the inflation component enacted during the Barbour administration
HB 1613: funding bill for preK-12 education
SB 2585: amends Winter-Reed Teacher Loan Repayment Program; expands eligibility to alternate route teachers; adds graduate level loans to the program; program entry no longer limited to first-year teachers; most recent version of the bill includes STRIDE scholarship program
ASK LEGISLATORS TO OPPOSE THIS BILL:
SB 2361: original language of the bill was replaced with the Moral Instruction Act, allowing excused absences for public school students to attend weekly religious or moral instruction; diminishes valuable instructional time
ASK LEGISLATORS TO REMOVE PRIVATE SCHOOL FUNDING FROM THESE BILLS (remind them to keep PUBLIC funds in PUBLIC schools):
HB 1671: includes $9-million state-funded subsidy for private schools with no restrictions on expenditures and no reporting requirements or oversight
HB 1734: early version of bill included $9-million state-funded subsidy for private schools with no restrictions on expenditures and no reporting requirements or oversight
SB 2692: includes $9-million state-funded subsidy for private schools with no restrictions on expenditures and no reporting requirements or oversight
SB 2696: includes $9-million state-funded subsidy for private schools with no restrictions on expenditures and no reporting requirements or oversight
SB 3052: includes $10-million infrastructure grant program for private schools
The most important thing that we can do for our students and teachers this year is to get our public schools fully funded. It would be inexcusable for legislators to adjourn the session with billions in the bank and our schools underfunded once again. So please call your legislators every day and ask, “Have you fully funded our public schools yet?”
Ask your friends and family to call. Ask your coworkers to call. It takes less than a minute, and it will mean a brighter future for thousands of Mississippi children. That’s a pretty great return on investment. Thank you for standing with us and working so hard! Together, we’ve got this.