Senate Includes Teacher Pay Raise in Substantial School Funding Increase

Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee amended the education appropriations bill to provide a $256-million increase to public schools over current-year MAEP funding, essentially the same increase that the House proposed, though $50-million of the funding in the Senate plan would go toward a $1,000 across-the-board pay raise for teachers. The pay raise would help teachers cover the rising cost of insurance and would help keep Mississippi teachers in state, as neighboring states have increased teacher salaries above the pay raise passed by our Legislature in 2022.

Earlier in the day, the Senate voted not to concur in the House amendment to SB 2332 but did not invite conference, killing the INSPIRE Act, which would have removed the MAEP from law, with no objective formula to replace it, and would have called for $150-million less statewide than the MAEP by the 2026-2027 school year. Senate Education Chair Dennis DeBar explained that he spoke with House Education Chair Rob Roberson and committed to work with him, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), and stakeholders in an open process after the session to consider revisions to the school funding law. The Senate version of HB 1823 provides $25,000 to MDE to examine the formula and make recommendations for improvements. 

Chairman DeBar made it clear that the Senate is committed to increasing significantly the investment in public schools this year. The Senate plan would come within $50-million of fully funding the MAEP, narrowing the gap for every district.
Please discuss the following bills with your legislators…

A bill that would harm public school children and teachers:

HB 1988, the Children’s Promise Act, which provides a massive increase in tax credits benefiting private schools, has passed the House but has not passed a Senate committee. Please ASK SENATORS TO AMEND THE BILL TO HAVE THESE TAX CREDITS BENEFIT ONLY FOSTER CARE SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS, NOT PRIVATE SCHOOLS. HB 1988 would allow an individual private school to receive up to $720,000 annually at taxpayer expense, regardless of size or enrollment, with no audits, oversight, or accountability. The smallest private schools could get more per student in state tax dollars than public schools receive.

Bills that would help public school children and teachers:

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 authorizes a $1,000 across-the-board teacher pay raise. ASK REPRESENTATIVES TO CONCUR.

HB 1229
 requires private voucher schools to meet the statutory requirements of the ESA voucher program and report participating student data on AP and college admissions tests and graduation and college acceptance rates in order to receive ESA funds; mandates that students be accepted by a qualifying voucher school before being added to the program’s waiting list. ASK SENATORS TO VOTE YES. 

HB 1618 revives the retired teachers bill, allowing retired teachers to work full time in critical shortage areas while receiving PERS benefits. The language is added to the Senate version of the PERS bill, which keeps the PERS board intact but requires that increases be recommended to the Legislature, limiting unilateral board action, and rescinds the 2% increase in the employer contribution. The Parents’ Campaign generally does not take positions on PERS legislation, but we strongly support measures addressing the teacher shortage. WE SUPPORT THIS BILL’S PROVISION ALLOWING RETIRED TEACHERS TO RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM WHILE DRAWING PERS BENEFITS.

HB 1823 provides a $206-million increase in MAEP funding, just $47-million below full funding. Provides an additional $50-million for a $1,000 across-the-board teacher pay raise. ASK SENATORS TO VOTE YES.

SB 2682 allows the Mississippi Critical Teacher Shortage Act to remain as law by extending the repeal date and expands the Winter-Reed Teacher Loan Repayment Program. ASK REPRESENTATIVES TO VOTE YES.

Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770

Find contact information for legislators here.

Speaker White: 601.359.3300

Lt. Gov. Hosemann: 601.359.3200

Tomorrow is the deadline for floor votes on general bills, so please call your legislators right away. Ask other public school supporters you know to call, too. We have a terrific opportunity to make real progress for Mississippi children. Together, we’ve got this!

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