Gov. Reeves has signed HB 530, the teacher pay raise bill, which makes it official! The salaries of certified teachers will increase by an average of $5,140 and teacher assistants will get a $2,000 pay raise, effective July 1. This is well-deserved good news for our hard-working teachers and assistants!
Unfortunately, that’s all the good news we can report today. This week, the Mississippi Legislature has outdone itself funneling wads of taxpayer dollars to private academies through a cleverly disguised vouchers-for-all program.
Just today, both chambers passed the conference report on HB 1685, a pregnancy resources bill into which legislators had stuck the “Children’s Promise Act,” by far the largest voucher program in the state. We need to kill this bill. Fortunately, it was held on a motion to reconsider in the Senate, which means senators will have a second chance to vote on the conference report.
Please ask your senator to:
Vote to RECONSIDER the vote on HB 1685 and then vote to RECOMMIT the conference report.
Find additional contact information for legislators who represent your school district: https://msparentscampaign.org/legislators-by-school…/
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Send the same message to Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann: 601.359.3200
The Children’s Promise Act is a perfect example of how legislators sneak in and pass programs that would likely die under public scrutiny. In 2019, legislators were told they were passing a bill to help children in foster care. What they weren’t told was that the bill also included funding for private schools that are not required to serve children in foster care. Funding for the voucher program has increased every year, and this year it was raised again to $18-million, 50% of which is directed to private schools for the benefit of any enrolled child.
The voucher funds flow through tax credits. Those who owe taxes to the state can donate that money to private schools instead and get that amount credited toward their tax bills. The Dept. of Revenue reports that 43 private schools got funding through the program last year. See which schools got the funding and how much they received.
Public schools are underfunded this year by $272-million. It is unthinkable that legislators would divert millions of taxpayer dollars to unaccountable private schools while public school children learn in dilapidated classrooms and special education programs lack adequate funding. Please call right away. Ask your family and friends to call, too. Our children and teachers are counting on us, and together, we’ve got this!