Full Funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP)
HB 513, signed by the governor, provides full funding of the MAEP.This is the first time in MAEP’s history that it has been fully funded in consecutive years.
Restoration of Diverted Funds
Teacher Supply Fund
The legislature did not fully restore this funding.HB 513, signed by the governor, provides for the Teacher Supply Fund $7-million — $800,000 or 13% more than last year, but well below the $20-million called for in state law.
Public School Building Fund
The legislature did not restore any of the $20-milion that state law requires to be directed to the Public School Building Fund.
Improved Training for School Board Members
The governor signed into law SB 2416 which calls for local school board members in school districts with one or more underperforming schools, as determined by the State Board of Education, annually to complete a 6-hour course entitled “Improving Student Outcomes and Academic Success.”Local school board members in districts with serious financial conditions must annually attend a 6-hour course entitled “Effective Financial Management in Local School Districts.”Local school board members in districts that meet both criteria shall attend both courses annually.The Mississippi School Boards Association will conduct these courses, which are in addition to the basic training and continuing education for school board members.District school board members must file a certificate of completion for those courses to the Mississippi School Boards Association annually. (MS Dept. of Education Bills Summary)
The governor signed into law SB 2149 which calls for the removal of an elected or appointed superintendent in a school district that has been “underperforming” for 2 consecutive full school years under that superintendent’s administration.The definition of underperforming is to be determined by the State Board of Education. The bill requires the State Board to notify such district by certified mail of its findings and the district may submit documentation to the Board within 15 days outlining why designation is unwarranted.The report requires the State Board to evaluate the documentation and make a final determination of the status within 30 days.
In the case of an appointed superintendent, the superintendent shall be removed upon final designation and notification by the State Board of Education (with the possibility of appeal by the local school board), and the new superintendent shall be appointed by the local school board.
In the case of an elected superintendent, the governor, upon written request of the State Board, shall remove such superintendent from office upon final designation and notification by the State Board of Education (with the possibility of appeal by the local school board), and that vacancy shall be filled in accordance with Section 37-5-75. An elected superintendent who is removed from an underperforming district shall not be eligible to seek reelection for a period of one full term of office for such position.Additionally, the school board of a district in which the elected superintendent is removed under these provisions shall publish in a newspaper with county-circulation a full-page notice informing residents that the position of superintendent may be made appointive upon approval in a special election after the board of supervisors receives a petition signed by 20% of voters.By December 1, the state board will submit an annual report to the Legislature regarding such districts and actions for corrective action.
Teacher Pay Increase
Expanded Salary Increments for Veteran Teachers
The governor signed into law SB 2176 which requires that annual increments for years of experience be expanded to include teachers at all certificate levels with 25 through 35 years of experience, to be phased-in over the next 2 school years (2008-2009 and 2009-2010).
3% Increase to Base Teacher Salaries
The legislature did not pass any increase to base teacher salaries.
Pilot Pre-Kindergarten Programs
The governor signed into law HB 1619 which includes a $3-million appropriation to improve the quality of private pre-kindergarten programs.This was well below the $20-million we had hoped for and we will continue to work on this issue in future legislative sessions.
Decreasing the Bond Passage Rate from 60% to 55%
The legislature did not pass legislation making this change.
Continued Funding for High School Redesign
The governor signed into law HB 975 which phases in the High School Redesign program through 2013-2014 with funding subject to appropriations. This program will allow students seven pathways of curriculum: 1) agricultural sciences, 2) business, 3) construction and manufacturing, 4) health sciences, 5) human sciences, art and humanities, 6) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and 7) transportation.The redesign program implements workforce education more effectively to prepare students for the future workplace.There is a repeal date of July 1, 2013.
HB 513, signed by the governor, provides funding for High School Redesign in the amount of $8-milion, with an additional $5-million to go toward the purchase of vocational equipment.The $8-milion falls short of the $18-million that would have been required to fully implement the phase-in authorized in HB 975.
Additional At-risk Funding
The governor signed into law SB 2176 which provides, beginning in the 2008-2009 school year, that a $1,000 supplement shall be paid to mentor teachers who provide mentoring services to beginning teachers.A beginning teacher is defined as a Mississippi teacher who has less than one year of classroom experience teaching in a public school. The Mississippi Department of Education will report the number of beginning teachers in each school to the Legislature by January 2.
HB 513, signed by the governor, provides $1.5-million for dyslexia screening in local school districts.
Assistance for Underperforming Schools and Accountability for Expenditure of At-risk Funds
SB 2405, signed into law by the governor, creates a 15-member task force to study and report on the status of underperforming schools and districts and on the Level 5 schools and districts to the 2009 Legislative Session. The task force will be composed of House and Senate Education Chairmen, House and Senate Appropriations Chairmen, State Superintendent of Education, Director of Educational Accountability, a business leader from Third Supreme Court District appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, a business leader from the First Supreme Court District appointed by the lieutenant governor, a business leader from the Second Supreme Court District appointed by the governor, a local school superintendent appointed by the lieutenant governor, director or his designee of MS Economic Council, local school superintendent appointed by the lieutenant governor, school board member appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, a representative of the governor’s office, a teacher appointed by the state superintendent, and a parent of a public school student appointed by the governor.
SB 2666, also signed into law by the governor, changes the designation of a “Priority School” to a “School At- Risk,” which is defined as a Level 1 school or as a Level 2 school for 2 consecutive years.Subject to appropriations, a “School At-Risk” will receive the evaluation, technical assistance and support provided by the Department of Education as is the current procedure in law for a Priority School.The State Board of Education may, in its discretion, assess local school districts for the costs of implementing these provisions. The bill provides that the State Board of Education shall promulgate rules to ensure MAEP at-risk funds allocated to districts are specifically targeted to implement effective programs, as determined by the Department of Education, for at-risk students.In addition, the rules promulgated by the state board shall provide the methods by which school districts will account for expenditures of at-risk funds and how school districts will be held accountable for such expenditures.