School Funding, Education Bills Pass; Voucher Threat Remains

We are almost to the finish line, and most of the measures for which you have advocated have passed the House and Senate, including the conference report for the education appropriation bill (see below).

However, we need your continued vigilance on HB 1988 – the Children’s Promise Act, which provides millions of dollars in subsidies to private schools. Because the Children’s Promise Act uses tax credits to send funding to private schools, state revenue is automatically decreased by the amount of the credits. State law now excuses the Legislature from fully funding public schools when state revenue declines. In years with level or modest revenue potential, these credits could result in a net loss in revenue and threaten funding for public schools.

Please ask your legislators to VOTE NO on any increase in tax credits for private schools in HB 1988.

Find contact information for legislators here.
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Speaker White: 601.359.3300
Lt. Gov. Hosemann: 601.359.3200

The conference report for the P-12 education appropriation bill has passed both chambers, providing an impressive $229-million more for public schools statewide! Additionally, the measure pluses up funding for pre-k and appropriates funds to cover the increases in health insurance premiums and PERS for teachers.

These conference reports also passed both chambers today:

HB 765 allows the Mississippi Critical Teacher Shortage Act to remain as law by extending the repeal date, expands the Winter-Reed Teacher Loan Repayment Program, and allows retired teachers to work full time in critical shortage areas while receiving PERS benefits.

HB 1229
 amends the ESA voucher statute to provide that private voucher schools may not receive voucher funds if they fail to meet the statutory requirements of the ESA voucher program. Additionally, it requires that voucher schools report data on participating students’ AP and college admissions tests and their graduation and college acceptance rates, and it mandates that students be accepted by a qualifying voucher school before being added to the program’s waiting list.

You can find details on these and other bills we’ve followed on the Bill Tracker page of our website.

Please protect funding for our public schools by reaching out to your legislators about the Children’s Promise Act tax credits that subsidize private schools. Ask them to vote NO on any increase. Our children and teachers are counting on us, and together, we’ve got this!

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