Senate Suspends Rules to Introduce New School Funding Bill

The Senate has passed a resolution suspending deadlines to allow the introduction of a bill to create a new school funding law. SCR 548 calls for a funding law that includes key elements outlined in a letter that education associations sent to legislative leaders in February:

  • an objective formula for determining the base student cost
  • additional funding for circumstances that increase the cost of education such as poverty, special education, and English language instruction

The requirement that an objective formula for the base cost be included is a good sign, and we are eager to see all of the details of the bill, as well as how it will affect statewide funding and each school district’s allocation. We also are awaiting word on next year’s school district appropriation bill. Both chambers have acknowledged that there is approximately $250-million in additional state funding available for public schools. Stay tuned – we’ll share details as soon as they are available.

Legislators need to hear from you on these bills:

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.

HB 1823 is the public school appropriation bill. The Senate version provides a $206-million increase in MAEP funding and a $1,000 across-the-board teacher pay raise, with a total increase over current-year funding of $256-million. The House version of the bill provides a $250-million increase over current-year funding but appropriates it toward the INSPIRE Act, which has no objective formula for the base cost, keeps funding stagnant for the next three years, and has a weak inflation factor that would prevent overall school funding from keeping pace with rising expenses. Please urge your legislators to quickly hammer out details on education funding and send school districts their budgets.

HB 1988, the Children’s Promise Act, as it passed the Senate, has no increase in tax credits for private schools. The bill could come back from conference with millions more in state tax dollars to subsidize private schools, with some private schools eligible for more per student in state tax dollars than public schools receive. These schools are subject to no oversight, no audits, and no accountability. VOTE NO.

Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770

Find contact information for legislators who represent your school district

Speaker White: 601.359.3300
Lt. Gov. Hosemann: 601.359.3200

Time is running short on this legislative session, so please make those calls right away. Legislators have announced that they plan to continue working at the Capitol over the weekend. Check our Bill Tracker for updates on the bills we are following. Together, we’ve got this!

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