The Latest on Important Bills

Here’s a quick update on progress to date on the education bills we are watching…

On the House calendar awaiting a floor vote – deadline next Thursday, March 12:

  • HB 989 – Limits Local Control/School Board Authority – VOTE NO  Prohibits local school boards from raising ad valorem taxes for the support of the school district when the district’s state, local, federal, and other funds exceed the minimum in state and local funds called for in the MAEP formula. NOTE:  When HB 989 was presented in committee, members were told that the MAEP formula establishes what a district’s entire budget should total. This is false. The MAEP formula establishes the minimum in state and local funds only that a school district needs in order to meet mid-level accreditation standards. All school districts receive additional federal and other funds that are not included in the formula and that are critical to meeting the needs of students, particularly those in low-wealth communities.
  • HB 1139 – Community Schools – VOTE YES – Adds Community Schools as an option in Districts of Innovation. Read more about community schools on the Legislative Priorities page of our web site.

On the Senate calendar awaiting a floor vote – deadline next Thursday, March 12:

  • SB 2286 – Expand Early Learning Collaboratives – VOTE YES – Increases per-student state funding for Early Learning collaboratives to $2,500 for full-day and $1,250 for half-day; sets goal to serve 25% of 4-year-olds by 2022-2023 school year.

Passed the House, going to the Senate:

  • HB 994 – Teacher Shortage – VOTE YES Candidates can enter college and university teacher preparation programs with a 21 ACT score or a 2.75 GPA on prior college coursework or a qualifying score on PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators.

Passed the Senate, going to the House:

  • SB 2001Teacher Pay Raise VOTE YES – Brings starting teacher pay to $37,000 for teachers with 0 to 2 years experience; $1,000 raise for all other certified teachers and assistant teachers.
  • SB 2511 – Teacher Shortage – VOTE YES  Candidates can enter college and university teacher preparation programs with a 21 ACT score or a 3.0 GPA on prior college coursework or a qualifying score on PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators.
  • SB 2594 – ESA Voucher Program – THE PARENTS’ CAMPAIGN HAS NO POSITION ON THE BILL AS IT PASSED THE SENATE; VOTE NO ON ANY AMENDMENT TO BROADEN CURRENT LANGUAGE – Adds accountability measures for ESA voucher program; eliminates online schools from eligibility; requires that private voucher schools provide special education services for participating students.

Please touch base with your legislators about these bills.

Find contact information for legislators who represent your school district

Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770

The floor deadline for the first round of bills is next Thursday, and I’ll be sure to update you on their progress. In the meantime, please reach out to your legislators about these bills, particularly HB 989, a dangerous bill on the House calendar that needs to be defeated. Thanks so much for all you do for Mississippi children. Together, we’ve got this!