Senate Passes School Funding Law, Calls Needed on State Subsidies for Private Schools

Today, the Senate passed HB 4130, creating the Mississippi Student Funding Formula to replace the MAEP as Mississippi’s school funding law. The bill now will go to the governor for his signature. The Senate released a projection showing how each district fares under the new plan. See it here.

Senate Education Chair Dennis DeBar explained that the bill will require an additional $230-million for public schools statewide in the coming school year, which includes state funds to cover an increase for educators’ health insurance. The chairman expressed disappointment that the House would not agree to a one-year delay in the new law to allow for public hearings and a more complete examination of the new formula, but he committed to convening the Senate Education Committee between legislative sessions for a thorough review, with data provided by the Mississippi Department of Education.

The new school funding law includes each of the essential elements that education associations outlined in a letter to the Legislature earlier in this session: an objective base cost formula, an inflation factor to account for rising costs, an equity component, and additional funding for circumstances that increase the cost of education such as poverty, special education, and English language instruction, based on the needs of each district’s student population. Our initial review of the bill reveals these pros and cons…


  • Provides a projected increase in funding statewide of approximately $230-million
  • Does a good job of getting more money to our highest need school districts
  • Contains an objective formula for determining the base student cost, not leaving it to the whims of the Legislature
  • Has a higher base cost than the base cost in INSPIRE
  • Stipulates that the base student cost in any year may not be lower than the base student cost in the preceding year
  • Contains an inflation factor that is more robust than the inflation factor in INSPIRE, effective immediately, yielding significantly more funding in out years than INSPIRE
  • Includes more funding for special education and gifted services, poverty, English language learner support, career and technical programs, and sparsely populated districts than the MAEP in year one and will include more than INSPIRE in out years, as the base cost grows at a faster pace (needs-based funding amounts are percentages of the base cost)
  • Holds school districts harmless for three years, requiring that each district’s funding shall not be less than the district’s total FY2024 allocation, even if enrollment declines
  • Funds all students, using net enrollment to allocate funds rather than average daily attendance
  • Allows an opportunity for review and update of the new formula, requiring that MDE provide recommendations for any technical amendments needed prior to the 2025 Legislative Session


  • The base student cost is less than that in either the MAEP or the Senate’s proposed adjusted MAEP, resulting in less school funding statewide in out years than would be called for by either MAEP plan
  • We are concerned about language allowing level education funding in years in which revenue declines, including declines related to legislative action such as tax cuts
  • The rushed process leaves little time for educators and advocates to evaluate central pieces of the plan, including the base student cost calculation, to ensure that it reflects accurately the cost to educate a typical Mississippi child to proficiency based on state academic standards and the overall impact of the proposal

We hope that, as the Senate examines the data associated with the new formula, they will include an analysis of the ongoing phase-in of extensive tax cuts passed in prior years and its probable impact on school funding. We appreciate the work of education supporters in both chambers to ensure that Mississippi public school children and teachers are provided the resources they need to be successful.

Please remain vigilant in your calls to legislators about HB 1988, the Children’s Promise Act, which uses state tax dollars to subsidize private schools via tax credits. Please ask your legislators to VOTE NO if the conference report calls for an increase in the tax credits to subsidize private schools.

Please also continue to reach out to legislators about these bills that remain in conference:

HB 765, as it passed the Senate, 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. SUPPORT THE SENATE VERSION.

HB 1229,
 as it passed the Senate, requires that, in order to receive ESA funds, private voucher schools must 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. The bill mandates that students be accepted by a qualifying voucher school before being added to the program’s waiting list. SUPPORT THE SENATE VERSION.

HB 1618 
revives the retired teachers bill, allowing retired teachers to work full time in critical shortage areas while receiving PERS benefits. The language was added to the Senate version of the PERS bill, which keeps the PERS board intact but limits unilateral board action and rescinds the 2% increase in the employer contribution. SUPPORT ALLOWING RETIRED TEACHERS TO RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM WHILE DRAWING PERS BENEFITS.

Find contact information for legislators here.

Speaker White: 601.359.3300

Lt. Gov. Hosemann: 601.359.3200

Conferees are scheduled to sign conference reports on appropriations bills this evening. We expect the P-12 school funding bill to reflect the $230-million increase that Chairman DeBar explained on the Senate floor earlier today.

Thank you for standing in the gap for our children through this long session – we are almost to the end. Please reach out to your legislators, particularly about the Children’s Promise Act tax credits subsidizing private schools – ask them to vote NO on any increase. We will continue to update our Bill Tracker as conference reports are filed and bills are signed. Together, we’ve got this!

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