Looking for legislators' contact information? Click here to find phone numbers, email addresses, and social media information for all of the legislators who represent your school district.
To see the status of our priority bills in the 2017 Legislative Session, click here.
News on School Funding
Governor Bryant signed HB 1502, the K-12 funding bill, yesterday, an action that starts the clock ticking on teacher non-renewal notices. School districts must issue written notice by April 28 to any teacher whose contract will not be renewed for the 2017-2018 school year. See your district's funding for 2017-2018, as provided for by HB 1502. Read more here about fair funding and how Mississippi's school funding measures up to that of neighboring states and the U.S. average.
Your School District's Funding
How much is the Mississippi Legislature willing to invest in your child's education? You can see how much state funding your school district will receive for the 2017-2018 school year, how much it is underfunded according to our state law, and how your schools might be funded if they were located in another state by clicking here.
Good Job! Session Ends, Vouchers Die
The 2017 Legislative Session is in the books; the House and Senate adjourned sine die this afternoon, having defeated all measures that would have sent public school dollars to private academies. See the status of all bills we followed in this session. Read more about final legislative action on vouchers and the K-12 budget.
Legislature Passes School Funding Bill
The school funding bill for 2017-2018 was passed tonight by the House and Senate. It funds the MAEP $40-million below what was appropriated for public schools this time last year. Read more.
Still No K-12 Budget
Posted 3/26/2017 7:55 p.m.
When the House and Senate adjourned for the evening on Sunday, there was still no agreement on the K-12 budget for the 2017-2018 school year. Conferees signed a "dummy" bill with $0 as the amount appropriated in order to meet a Saturday night deadline for filing initial conference reports. On Sunday, legislators in both chambers voted to recommit the report for further work. As of 7:55 p.m. on Sunday, no additional conference report had been filed.
Saturday evening, officials reported that they had agreed to a budget that funded the MAEP at $40-million below what was appropriated for the current school year ($20-million below what schools were left with this year after two rounds of budget cuts) and $233-million below what state law says is adequate for students to master the standards required of them for graduation and for schools to meet basic accreditation requirements. Sunday afternoon, Mississippi Today reporter Kate Royals tweeted that, according to Education Chairman John Moore, no deal on the K-12 budget had been reached.
MAEP Cut by $8.6M in Current Year Budget Reductions
Yesterday, Governor Bryant was forced to make another round of FY 2017 budget cuts due to plummeting state revenue. The MAEP was cut by another $8.6-million and the General Education budget was cut by $738,904. These cuts affect the current school year, 2016-2017. See spreadsheet listing cuts by agency, courtesy of Mississippi Today. The MAEP previously was cut by $11.2-million in February.
Misinformation at Play in Voucher Debate, Budget Woes Worsen
In voucher debate earlier in the session, legislators were told that the DeSoto County School District had no program to serve students with dyslexia. The claim was made that students need to be given Mississippi tax dollars to pay for private school tuition across the state line in Memphis. As a matter of fact, the district has a dyslexia program overseen by four dyslexia therapists and including 111 trained teachers. The voucher bill, HB 1046, could come up for a vote at any time in the next several days. In today's news, legislators learned they will have to make deeper than anticipated cuts to state services for the coming year. Read more.
MAEP and Vouchers - Keep Calling!
The public remains in the dark on the MAEP rewrite. Meanwhile, deadlines loom for the K-12 funding bill and the voucher bill. Read more.
Secret MAEP Revamp to be Unveiled?
Sources in the House and Senate say that school funding "numbers" in the MAEP revamp may be unveiled as early as tomorrow (Tuesday) to "select" legislators. Ask your legislators to vote NO on any proposal that hasn't been fully vetted in open public hearings. See more here, including our list of red flags to watch for in this process.
What a day! Hundreds of Mississippi parents, students, and educators crowded into the Capitol today to rally in support of public schools. Congratulations to rally organizers - and thank you - for a fantastic event! And kudos to all those who took time from your spring break vacation to travel to Jackson to stand up for our children! Read more about the day.
Call, Text, Email Legislators on RALLY DAY!
Couldn't make it to the education funding rally at the Capitol today? Don't worry, you can still be there in spirit. Wherever you are right now, pick up your phone and call, text, and email your legislators! Your message: "I'm concerned about any changes to the education funding law. I want to know what the plan is and I want to have input." Read more.
See You Tomorrow
Tomorrow is RALLY DAY! We hope you'll come. This rally is a chance to make it crystal clear to our Legislature that public education is Mississippi's #1 priority and that the way it is funded can make or break our children's future. Read more.
MAEP and a Rally at the Capitol
Will we see you Thursday, March 16, at the rally for public education funding? The fun starts at 10:30 a.m. in the 2nd floor rotunda of the State Capitol. This afternoon, the Senate amended the education funding bill for 2017-2018 to replace the MAEP funding that was omitted in the earlier House version of the bill. HB 1502 now provides roughly the same amount of funding for the next school year as schools received this year. But flat funding, combined with ever rising operating costs, still leaves school districts in a budget hole. Read more.
Senate Passes Voucher Bill, School Funding Rally Set for March 16
The Senate passed HB 1046, the voucher bill, this evening on a vote of 30-19. See your senator's vote. The bill was amended to include a reverse repealer, which means it will go to conference. Senators were told that this bill is not a voucher bill. That, of course, is false. Any bill that sends public, taxpayer funds to pay tuition at a private school is a voucher. Please ask your legislators to vote NO when the bill comes back from conference.
Frustrated with the silence and secrecy regarding the MAEP rewrite, citizens now are organizing a March 16 rally in support of public school funding. Read more.
Still No Action on Vouchers, Deadline Tomorrow
The voucher bill, HB 1046, has still not come up for a vote in the Senate, and tomorrow is the deadline for floor action on this and other general bills. Please ask everyone you know to call their senators one more time with the message: Vote NO on HB 1046! Find contact information for senators here. You can leave a message at the Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770. Share the same message with Lt. Governor Reeves: 601.359.3200. We will post the vote for HB 1046 on this page and on our Ed Report Facebook pages if it is taken up tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Vouchers Still a Threat - Keep Calling!
No matter how many times you've already called your senator about HB 1046, please call again! The Senate has adjourned for the weekend without taking the bill up for a vote. They will reconvene on Monday at 4 p.m.; midnight Wednesday is the deadline for action on this bill. Read more.
Need More Calls on Vouchers
The voucher bill, HB 1046, has not yet come up for a vote in the Senate. Please ask everyone you know to call their senators with the message: Vote NO on HB 1046! Find contact information for senators. Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770. Share the same message with Lt. Governor Reeves: 601.359.3200. The deadline for passage of this bill is next Wednesday, and privatization operatives are lobbying hard to get it passed. Please ask your senator to stand with us in support of public schools.
Voucher Bill Awaits Action on Senate Calendar - Keep Calling!
The Senate took no action today on the voucher bill, House Bill 1046, so the bill remains on the Senate calendar and could come up for a vote any time between now and next Wednesday's deadline. Many thanks to those who have contacted your senators; please stay in touch with them throughout this week. They are getting enormous pressure from privatization forces to support this voucher bill. Ask your friends and family to call, too. And give us a call or shoot us an email or text message to let us know what feedback you are getting. Find legislators' contact information here.
RED ALERT: Voucher Bill Headed to Senate Floor - Please Call Senators!
HB 1046 has passed the Senate Appropriations Committee and is headed to the floor. A strike-all amendment has turned the bill into a dangerous voucher bill that threatens local school district funding and sends Mississippi tax dollars out of state to unaccountable private schools. Read more here.
RED ALERT: Calls Needed Immediately!
House Bill 1046 (strike-all amendment) could be the most alarming legislation we've seen this year. Find out why, then call senators and ask for a vote of NO on HB 1046.
What Does HB 1046 Actually Do?
Misinformation is circulating about HB 1046. Here are four key facts about this bill (as passed by the Senate Education Committee on 2/23/2017).
RED ALERT: Vouchers Resurrected
The Senate Education Committee this morning passed an amended bill that would send public dollars to private schools throughout Mississippi, as well as out-of-state private schools. Ask senators to vote NO on voucher bill HB 1046. Find phone numbers for senators in your school district. Read more here.
Vouchers Die on Deadline Day; Focus Now on MAEP Rewrite
Three cheers for the Mississippi Legislature! Due to lack of support, no voucher bill was ever brought up for a vote. Now our focus returns to the MAEP rewrite, a process that should include ample time for a full public vetting. Read more.
No Action on Vouchers Today; Governor Makes More Mid-year Budget Cuts
Neither the House nor the Senate took up voucher bills in committee today; the deadline is midnight tomorrow. In other news, Governor Bryant was forced to make more mid-year budget cuts. This time the MAEP is included. Read more.
Vouchers in House & Senate - Please Keep Calling!
Voucher bills are looming in both chambers. One voucher bill has been referred to the House Ways & Means committee, and three await action in the Senate Finance committee. All have a Wednesday deadline for floor votes. Read more here.
Curious Turn on MAEP, More Vouchers to Fight
After Speaker Gunn announced yesterday that legislators would delay the school funding appropriation until the MAEP rewrite is done, the House today passed a K-12 appropriation bill that omits MAEP funding to school districts completely. Read more about this curious turn of events and see our alert on a new round of voucher bills.
A Win for Our Children!
Thank you! You did amazing work for our kids, and your legislators sided with you. Read more here.
House, Senate Adjourned; Bills Remain on Calendars
Thursday, February 9, is the deadline for passage of bills currently on House and Senate calendars. The bills we are watching closely still have not come up for votes and both chambers have adjourned for the day. Continue to contact legislators to share your concerns on the following bills:
MAEP Revamp Bills Coming; Legislators, Public Kept in Dark
The Mississippi Business Journal reports that legislators will be asked in the next two days to vote on bills that strike the MAEP from state law and replace it with a new school funding mechanism. The proposal has not been made public, nor have legislators had a chance to review it. Read more.
Harmful Education Bills Await Votes
Thursday, February 9, is the deadline for first-round action on the bills we are watching this week in the House and Senate. Keep those calls to legislators going, and get details here on bills that could harm public schools.
Broad Voucher Bill on House Calendar
A voucher bill championed by privatization lobbyists is on the House calendar awaiting a vote. Ask your representative to vote no on HB 1036. Read about the possible consequences of this bill.
Status of MAEP Dummy Bills
HB 1294, the MAEP dummy bill, was skipped today as the House began working through its calendar of bills. SB 2607, the Senate's MAEP dummy bill, also was skipped on the Senate calendar. The House will reconvene at 9 a.m. Thursday and the Senate at 10 a.m. Both dummy bills face a February 9 deadline for passage.
RED ALERT: "Dummy" MAEP Revamp & Other Dangerous Bills Headed for Floor Votes
House and Senate committees advanced a number of bills detrimental to public schools, including two "dummy" bills that will be used to change the way public schools are funded. Read more.
RED ALERT: Plan Could Devastate Public Schools
Lt. Governor Reeves has told the Associated Press that he believes a new school funding law should not include a formula to keep pace with inflation. Such a plan would set in law a devastating downward spiral for public school funding. Read more on our Facebook page.
RED ALERT: Please Call Legislators
The Senate Education Committee is expected to vote on that chamber's version of an MAEP rewrite on Tuesday (deadline day). The House Appropriations Committee may vote on a "dummy" bill that could be amended with MAEP changes. Both are troublesome and need your urgent attention. Read more.
Less State Funding for Mississippi Schools?
The bottom line on EdBuild's proposal appears to be less state funding for public schools than is required currently by the MAEP. Two areas of great concern are elimination of the formula and shifting the burden from the state to the local level (raising local taxes). Read more.
EdBuild Recommends Changes to MAEP
EdBuild, the consulting firm hired by the leadership to recommend changes to the school funding formula, presented its report to a packed house at the Capitol this afternoon. Read more and see EdBuild's full recommendations.
Watch EdBuild Meeting via Livestream
If you are not attending in person, you can view today's EdBuild meeting via livestream at 2 p.m. on Mississippi Today's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MSTODAYnews/?fref=ts
EdBuild to Present Recommendations January 16
EdBuild will present recommendations to legislators on Monday, January 16, at 2 p.m. in Room 216 of the State Capitol. The meeting will be open to the public. Legislators are going home today for the weekend, so this is a great time to ask them these questions: Do you promise to vote no on any changes to the school funding law until I and other constituents have had a chance to review and weigh in on them? Do you promise to vote against any proposal that results in a lower level of funding than is now required by state law?
An ANTI-Public Education Agenda
Yesterday, we defined for you what a PRO-public education agenda looks like. Today, we show you what an ANTI-public education agenda might entail. Read more.
A PRO-Public Education Agenda
Today, legislators gathered in Jackson to convene the 2017 Legislative Session. How will you know if your legislators are voting to support strong public schools? We'll make it easy, cutting through the spin and telling the truth about the impact of legislation on your school and your child. Read details here on what a PRO-public education agenda looks like.
Lights, Camera, ACTion
Worried about funding for public education? Disgusted with privatizers who want to sell out our kids? Ready to storm the Capitol, but don't have time to make the trip? You aren't alone! It's time to lift our voices in support of public education, and we're making it easy with our #protectPUBLICed$ campaign. Read more here...lights, camera, ACTion.
No Peeking Yet...Announcement Coming in Two Weeks!
Be sure to watch your email inbox on December 29! We've got something brewing for the 2017 Legislative Session that you'll want to be a part of. HINT: Lights, Camera, ACTion. We'll fill you in soon. In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas!
$180.9M Shortfall for MAEP Recommended by JLBC
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) is recommending that public schools be underfunded by $180.9-million in the 2017-2018 school year. The budget proposed yesterday by the committee includes extensive cuts to most state services. Read more.
When "Portable" Means "Privatize"
Too Many Red Flags to Ignore
Thursday's MAEP revamp "public" hearing raised even more red flags in a process that already had public education supporters deeply skeptical. It has become crystal clear that this is not a sincere effort to engage in a meaningful analysis of the critical, complicated formula that determines our schools' funding. This rushed, secret effort is in stark contrast to the lengthy, public effort that resulted in the formulation of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Therefore, we are calling on lawmakers to halt this process until it can be accomplished with full transparency and public input. Legislators should vote down any attempt to change the school funding formula in the 2017 Legislative Session. Read more.
EdBuild Contract to be Kept Secret
Taxpayers will never know what is in the contract between our legislative leaders and EdBuild, the company hired to recommend changes to the way Mississippi schools are funded. Mississippi Today reported that the House Management Committee, after receiving a public records request from Mississippi Today for a copy of the EdBuild contract, passed a new policy that keeps all of its contracts secret. Read more.
Public Hearing on MAEP Revamp Announced for Thursday
This afternoon, Lt. Gov. Reeves and Speaker Gunn announced that a public hearing on the MAEP revamp will be held this Thursday, November 17, at 4 p.m. in Room 113 of the State Capitol. Please attend and make your voice heard. Read more.
Critical Points on MAEP Revamp
School funding changes remain a pressing concern for public school supporters. Legislative leaders have created an email address to which the public can send suggestions on how our Mississippi's public schools should be funded: firstname.lastname@example.org. Two components are absolutely necessary to any plan - an objective, formula-driven base student cost and a means of ensuring adequate, equitable resources for all children. Read more.
Report on MAEP Revamp Meeting
Rebecca Sibilia of EdBuild presented her ideas for a student-centered school funding formula to legislators and a capacity crowd of observers this afternoon. Read more.
Watch EdBuild Meeting Via Live Stream
Many of you have expressed frustration that the joint education committee meeting with EdBuild to discuss a possible revamp of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. today, preventing most educators and parents from attending. Fortunately, Bracey Harris of The Clarion-Ledger plans to video the full meeting. You can watch it in real time - access the live stream at https://www.facebook.com/braceyh/. The video will remain available at that site for later viewing. If you can make it to the meeting in person, join us at 2:00 p.m., Room 216 at the Capitol.
Ed Committees to Meet on MAEP Revamp
House and Senate education committees will meet Thursday, October 27, at 2 p.m. in the State Capitol to hear from EdBuild about a possible revamp of the school funding formula (MAEP). Read more.
2016 School and District Ratings
2016 school and district ratings were released today. See ratings. Teachers and students are due a hearty congratulations for yielding impressive academic improvement while weathering an accountability hurricane, with three different tests in three years; a new set of standards; a shift to computer-based, online assessments; countless rule changes and clarifications; and woefully inadequate resources. Read more.
How Mississippi Schools are Rated
Leadership Announces Plans to Revamp MAEP
Speaker Gunn and Lt. Governor Reeves announced that they have hired a firm, EdBuild, to propose changes to our state's school funding formula, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP). Read more.
Changes to Accountability System Adopted by State Board of Education
After receiving 139 comments from parents, educators, and concerned citizens, the State Board of Education has voted to adopt several changes to the rules that govern the accountability system that determines school and district ratings. See the changes and read more.
Education Budget News, Charter School Update
Governor Bryant made public schools a priority in the latest round of budget cuts by exempting the MAEP. While funding to local schools is not affected by the recent reduction, the MDE's budget will be cut by $4.8-million. Read more about budget cuts and see today's charter school update here.
The Parents' Campaign Submits Comments Regarding Accountability System Changes
The Parents' Campaign submitted public comments to the MDE regarding proposed changes to the business rules of the state accountability system. These changes affect the way schools and districts are graded. See our submission here.
A Substantial Change That Affects Your School
The State Board of Education has voted in favor of a dramatic change to the school ratings system, one that sets in stone the number of schools and districts that can be rated in each of the A through F categories in a given year. Public comments regarding the policy change can be submitted until September 13. Read more.
MDE "Listening Tour" Seeks Input on Accountability Plan
State superintendent Dr. Carey Wright has announced a "listening tour" to solicit input from parents, educators, and others about the way Mississippi assesses student learning and rates schools and school districts. See the topics on which MDE is seeking input: "Mississippi Succeeds" Questions for Public Feedback. Find tour dates, locations, and more information here.
Good News on Mississippi Test Scores
Public school teachers and students had another good year in 2015-2016, continuing the trend of better achievement and higher test scores. Read more.
Study Says Mississippi's Proficiency Bar is Set Above Grade Level
Get this: if your third grader is reading at a seventh-grade level, Mississippi does not consider her to be "advanced." She won't hit the advanced mark unless she reads at the nationally-normed 8.1 grade level, per cut scores set for Mississippi's 2015 state test. The proficiency bar for a third grader is set at the end-of-year fourth-grade level, according to a study conducted by Renaissance Learning, Inc. Read more.
Wow! What a terrific start to the school year! We have loved seeing the amazing back-to-school photos and videos lighting up Facebook and Twitter: colorful classrooms, creative getting-to-know-you games, and brain-stretching learning activities. Teachers are fired up and ready for another outstanding year. Read more.
Mississippi Public School Parents Fighting Fire with Fire
Your 2015 School Ratings
See your 2015 school district ratings here and individual school ratings here. "Yep, just what we thought." That's the likely response to today's ratings from Mississippi parents and educators who feel their public schools have been set up to fail by a hostile legislature. Read more.
2015 School Ratings Coming
School district ratings for 2015 will be released later this week. And it just got a whole lot harder to make a good grade. Read more.
One-time Money Used to Balance State Budget
Following a lot of finger-pointing over who's to blame for the corporate tax cuts that have blown a hole in the state budget, the House joined the Senate in passing SB2001 to get Mississippi out of the red - at least temporarily. Read more.
Special Session Moves to Day Two
So much for zipping in and out...the Legislature's special session will move to day two tomorrow.
Here's the skinny: The Senate passed SB2001, which gives Governor Bryant authority to spend any amount of Rainy Day funds necessary to true up the state budget. A few senators attempted to slow down the process in an effort to get a clearer budget picture, decrying the lack of accurate information available to rank and file legislators - a factor that has made fiscal responsibility nearly impossible. The effort failed, and senators adjourned and skipped town shortly after the 31-14 vote.
The bill then went to the House where the leadership was unable to get the 2/3 vote needed to bring up the bill for a floor vote today. So, that chamber will be back at 9 a.m. tomorrow. The bill is certain to pass, but there will likely be a lively debate. You can watch it here.
Legislators Back to Jackson to Plug Budget Hole
Tomorrow, the Legislature will zip into Jackson to raid the Rainy Day Fund (RDF) again, using one-time money to erase the state budget deficit before Thursday's year-end. Read more here about the fiscal mismanagement that brought us to this point.
Word is that the Legislature could be called back to Jackson this week for more budget work. The problem? All those corporate tax breaks legislators gave to big-business donor buddies have put a real dent in state revenue. And - surprise! - the state budget is running a serious deficit for the fiscal year that ends June 30. And then there's the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, which apparently also is dripping with red ink - despite the Legislature's great special-funds-heist you've been reading about in the press (see here and here and here). If they take up the FY2017 budget for a do-over, we may need your help to protect school funding. As it is, educators are trying to figure out how to provide our children a quality education in the 2016-2017 school year given a $170-million school funding shortfall and ever-increasing costs and mandates. Our schools can't afford more cuts.
Leadership Admits Retaliation for Initiative 42
House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson has now admitted to the Associated Press and the Daily Journal that Mississippi's elected leadership drafted laws to retaliate against citizens - including educators - who advocated for a constitutional amendment that would have required adequate funding for public schools. Read the details here.
Ed Funding Bill Creates Budget Hole for Local School Districts
Politicians boast about providing "level funding" to public schools, but that term is deceiving. Find out why, and see your school district's state funding shortage for 2016-2017 here.
Gov. Bryant Chooses More Corporate Tax Cuts Over MS School Children
This afternoon, Governor Bryant chose yet another huge tax break for big business over adequate funding for public schools, mental health, and other vital state services. Despite legislative leaders having just admitted that they passed an unbalanced budget - in violation of our state constitution - and despite being unable to pay the state's bills, requiring deep cuts in critical state services, Bryant stripped millions more from state coffers with the stroke of a pen when he signed SB 2858 late on this Friday afternoon. Read more.
Reeves & Gunn Admit Budget "Error"
Even Less Revenue Anticipated for Coming Budget Year
Lt. Governor Reeves and Speaker Gunn announced today that we can anticipate even less revenue for the coming budget year than legislators were led to believe when they voted blindly on budget-slashing appropriations bills and the largest corporate tax cut in state history. Read more.
Elected Officials Warn of Looming Budget Crisis
As budget and tax-cut bills await Governor Bryant's signature, a growing, bi-partisan chorus is warning of a looming budget crisis rivaling that seen during the Great Recession. Read more about what caused the crisis and which basic services Mississippians could lose.
See Your School District's Funding for 2016-2017
Want to know what corporate tax cuts are costing your school district? See how much your district is getting for the 2016-2017 school year and how much it has been underfunded since 2008. Have you called Governor Bryant about vetoing the tax cut bill? Now is the time - remind him that these are our children and their futures are at stake. Read more.
Your School District's Budget Cut
The budget cuts announced by Governor Bryant last week apply to the current year budgets of school districts, which end June 30. See your district's cut. With state services, including public education, on the chopping block, now is not the time for more massive corporate tax breaks. Ask Governor Bryant to veto the Legislature's irresponsible tax cut bill, SB 2858. Read more.
Senate Adjourns; Governor to Cut Budgets Again
Today the Senate wrapped up its business for the 2016 Legislative Session. Also today, Governor Bryant announced that more budget cuts and further raiding of the Rainy Day Fund will be necessitated by the drop in state revenue that has been caused largely by the numerous tax breaks handed out to corporate cronies by the Legislature in recent years. Ask Governor Bryant to restore fiscal sanity to our state by vetoing SB 2858. Call his office at 601.359.3150. Read more.
K-12 Budget, Corporate Tax Cuts Pass House and Senate
The budget for K-12 public education has been adopted. It level funds the MAEP, leaving it funded for the 2016-2017 school year $172-million below what is required by law. The House and Senate also passed massive corporate tax cuts that will reduce state revenue by $416-million annually, upon full implementation. Read more here.
Deep Cuts to Most Agencies, Still No K-12 Budget
Twenty-four hours after being told a K-12 budget had been finalized, we still have no "real" conference report. The same holds true for most of the largest state agencies. Legislators voted today on budgets for agencies that did have conference reports - budgets which include deep cuts that could result in layoffs. While House & Senate members voted on austere budgets that reflect the reality of anemic state revenue, caused by enormous corporate tax breaks handed out in recent years, legislative leaders were down the hall negotiating even more tax breaks for their corporate cronies. Read more here.
Legislators Meet Deadline with "Dummy" Conference Report
Legislators met their 8pm deadline tonight by filing a "dummy" conference report on the K-12 budget bill, though earlier in the day the appropriations chairs had announced a budget deal. A dummy bill is a placeholder that has $0.00 in line items instead of true budget numbers. Chairmen Frierson and Clarke reported mid-afternoon that the MAEP would be the only part of the state budget spared cuts. Other areas of the education budget and other state agencies will suffer cuts, due largely to the enormous corporate tax cuts enacted by the Legislature in recent years. Read more.
Help Us Protect School Funding
It's crunch time! In the next four days, six legislators will decide - behind closed doors - whether or not to change the law that requires adequate funding for our children's schools. Contact your legislators and tell them to vote NO on any changes to the MAEP that would reduce the amount required to fully fund public schools and NO tax cuts until the bills are paid (public schools fully funded). Read more.
School Funding at Risk, See Senators' Charter School Vote
Today the Senate voted 26-24 to send the charter school bill to Governor Bryant without any changes. Students from C, D, and F districts will be able to cross lines to attend a charter school in another district, with funding following the student. See how your senator voted. It's time to focus efforts on HB 458, which could be used to reduce the amount of state money required to fully fund the MAEP. Read more.
Senate Delays Charter Vote, MAEP Shenanigans Feared
The Senate did not take up the charter school bill today, giving public school supporters another day to contact senators about removing the harmful provision regarding C districts. An MAEP bill that has been sent to conference gives legislators an opening to walk back their promise to our children in secret meetings, something that would be an act of bad faith. Read more.
Senate Will Vote Again on Charter School Bill
Senators will get one more chance to send SB 2161 to conference to remove the provision that allows students in C districts to cross district lines to attend charter schools. The bill was held today on a motion to reconsider, allowing another vote on the bill. Removing C districts from the bill will help all students - those in C districts and those in chronically under-performing districts. Read why here.
Senate Concurs on Charter Bill
In a narrow vote of 24-21, with seven senators not voting, the Senate today concurred with the House version of SB 2161. The bill allows students in C, D, and F districts to cross lines to attend a charter school in another district. There may be another opportunity for action on this bill; read more here.
Keep Calling on Charter Bill, News from the House
SB 2161, which threatens to siphon resources away from C-rated districts, still awaits a vote in the Senate. Today in the House, SB 2858 was passed and will go to conference where proposed tax cuts, and possible funding for roads and bridges, may be negotiated. Read all of today's news here.
Urgent: School Funding at Risk
This afternoon, a House committee passed a bill that would reduce state revenue by $134-million next year. If the state has $134-million to give away, then the state has $134-million to increase school funding. Please ask your representative to vote NO on SB 2858. Read more here.
Charter Bill Needs a Change - Please Call
Please ask your senator to send SB 2161 to conference, where C-rated districts can be removed from anything having to do with charter schools. Read more here.
House Passes Bill Allowing Students in C Districts to Attend Charters Aross District Lines
On a motion from Education Chairman John Moore, the House narrowly voted (58-57) to move SB 2161 forward without amending it to remove the provision allowing students in C districts to cross district lines to attend charter schools. Read more and see how your rep voted here.
Charter school bills remain on the calendar in both chambers: for reconsideration in the House and for a vote in the Senate. Today, the House passed SB 2158, a bill that provides for the calculation of the MAEP using enrollment rather than average daily attendance. Read more here.
News on Charter, Voucher Bills
The House passed expanded charter school legislation today, but there could be an opportunity to change that outcome. The Senate acted on HB 33, which expands vouchers to students who have had an IEP at any time in the previous five years. Read more about today's actions in both chambers here.
House and Senate Adjourn Until Monday
The House and Senate have adjourned until Monday afternoon. Please continue to have conversations with your legislators about important education bills. See more here.
Troublesome Ed Bills on Calendar
Please make sure your legislators understand that recent changes to the House and Senate charter school bills reveal a troubling focus on expanding charter schools to districts rated C. Read more about these and other bills here.
Need Calls on Charter Schools
Two problematic charter school bills are headed for floor votes. Now is the time to call your representative and your senator about HB 1044 and SB 2161. Read more here.
Important Update on Education Bills
The deadline for Senate committees to act on House general bills and for House committees to act on Senate general bills is next Tuesday. See important information about education bills to watch here.
Positive News from the Capitol
More voucher bills died today and the Senate announced that its budget plan includes a $40-million increase to the MAEP. Read more here.
Good News in Mississippi Test Scores
School rankings and ratings can sometimes mask extraordinary work. That's the take-away from our deep dive into Mississippi's test data. Read more here.
Senate Passes Massive Tax Cut
The full Senate passed SB 2858, a tax cut bill that would reduce state revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars. When fully implemented, the plan would allow 80% of corporations doing business in Mississippi to pay no corporate taxes at all. See how your senator voted and read more here.
School Funding Bill Passed by House
The House of Representatives passed the school funding bill today. HB 1643 provides no increase in the MAEP and cuts the overall K-12 education budget by about $7.6-million. An attempt to protect the MAEP and the Schools for the Blind and the Deaf from further budget cuts was made by Rep. Jay Hughes, but the effort was defeated by the House. Also today, the Senate Finance Committee passed a massive tax cut package that would reduce state revenue by nearly $600-million. See more here.
House Appropriations Passes School Funding Bill
The school funding bill is headed to the House floor after passage today by the House Appropriations Committee. The bill provides no increase for the MAEP and cuts K-12 education overall by about $7.6-million. Read more here.
School Funding Bill Coming Soon
Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians will be watching closely over the next few weeks to see how legislators respond to last November's clarion call regarding the need for adequate school funding. The House Appropriations Committee meets tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.; the deadline for the House floor vote on school funding for 2016-2017 is next Wednesday. Read more here.
Good News for the Weekend
HB 47 is dead! Be sure to thank the House members who contributed to the demise of this very bad legislation. Two additional harmful bills (both headed to the Senate) need your attention: HB 458 (MAEP formula changes) and HB 33 (vouchers). Read more here.
Harmful Bills Still on Calendar
While many disastrous education bills have died and others will be battled in the next stage of the process, two harmful bills remain on the current calendar (SB 2161 and HB 47). Read more here.
Legislative Update - Some Good News
Thanks for your great work! Two bills of concern are held on motions to reconsider, meaning legislators may have another chance to vote on them; please call your representative about HB 47 and your senator about SB 2161. Good news - the "silence educators" bill is dead, as is the bill providing for all school board members to be elected. Read more here.
Need Quick Help From You!
Two detrimental bills that passed the House today could be overturned with your help; please contact your representative right away. House Bills 47 and 29 were held on motions to reconsider, which means that they could be brought back to the floor for a re-vote. Click here for more information, including vote reports on these and other bills, and an update on today's House and Senate action.
Contact Legislators About These Bills
Both chambers are working quickly through their calendars. Click here to see a list of the bills remaining on House and Senate calendars on which The Parents' Campaign has taken a position.
House and Senate Adjourn for Weekend
Thank you to all those who called Speaker Gunn and your representatives to insist that they do the work we elected them to do. The Speaker and key legislators met throughout the day; Speaker Gunn returned to the podium mid-afternoon, announced that progress had been made and adjourned the House for the weekend. The House will return Monday at 2 p.m. to resume taking up bills. Floor action is expected to move quickly next week and harmful bills are on the calendar in the House and Senate. Read more here.
House Not Allowing Debate on Bills
This morning, House Speaker Philip Gunn and his leadership team pushed through a measure that allows no questions and answers on bills being presented for a vote. Read more here about the dysfunction in the House of Representatives and the threat it poses to public schools.
Fed Up With 50th Press Conference Today
Fed Up With 50th is holding a press conference on the second floor of the Capitol today at 11:30 a.m. If you can't join them in person, show your support by texting, tweeting, posting on Facebook, and emailing your legislators. On social media, use the hashtag #SupportPublicSchools and add your own personal message.
Good News on Deadline Day
The very good news this evening is that most of the voucher bills, including HB 943, are dead. Some troublesome bills remain alive, among them two tax credit scholarship (voucher) bills that are not subject to today's deadline. Read more here.
Stop the Attack on Public Schools
Your legislative leadership is trying to pull a fast one on you. Bills that would allow students to cross district lines to attend charter schools or traditional public schools in other districts use a shell game to send your local tax dollars - money that was raised to support your community schools - to schools in other districts, something the constitution prohibits. Read more here.
Voucher Bill Passes House Education Committee
The House Education Committee has passed HB 943, a voucher bill that would send your tax dollars to private, for-profit, virtual, and home schools to cover the cost of tuition and other expenses. The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee. Read more here.
Charter Schools in A, B, & C Districts, Calls Needed!
This afternoon, education committees in the House and Senate passed bills that would bypass local school boards and permit a major charter school expansion statewide: HB 1044 would allow charter schools to locate in A, B, and C districts without local board approval, while SB 2161 would allow charters in C districts without local board approval. Both bills would permit students to cross district lines to attend a charter school anywhere in the state, with local taxes following the student. Read more here.
Big-Dollar Lobbyists Pushing Voucher Bills in Mississippi
The same out-of-state lobbyists who are peddling bills to funnel your child's Mississippi public school dollars into private academies and for-profit schools just had a set-back in Tennessee. Parents there stood up to the privatizers, and legislators sided with their constituents - just as our democracy is supposed to work. Click here to learn what these lobbyists are pushing in Mississippi how you can stand up to the profiteers who want to cash in on our kids.
Vouchers, Less School Funding, More Bureaucracy Pushed by 2016 Legislature
This year, the education legislation being filed is unprecedented in its hostility toward public schools, despite a clear message from voters that they want public education to flourish. Click here to see a sampling of troublesome education bills being proposed and who authored them.
House and Senate Rules Changed, Committees Named
Sen. Gray Tollison and Rep. John Moore will once again chair the Senate and House Education committees. Link to full lists of appropriations and education committee members here. Both chambers have adopted the rules by which they will operate for the next four years. The Senate has made some of its education bills available online; no House bills are available to the public yet. Read more here.
Mississippi Has Lost a Great Champion of Public Education
We at The Parents' Campaign join all Mississippians in mourning the passing and celebrating the life and legacy of Jack Reed, Sr., among Mississippi's most courageous and visionary leaders, and a true champion of public education. Mr. Reed believed in community, that we should work for the good of everyone, and he lived out that conviction every day. Read our tribute here.
Moms: School Choice Means "Fend for Yourself"
Pascagoula Mom: Support All Children, Not Just a Chosen Few
"Don't we want ALL of our children to grow up to be productive members of society?" Listen as Pascagoula mom Myya Robinson urges legislators to support all Mississippi students, not just a chosen few. Read more here.
Ridgeland Mom: Vouchers Let Private Schools "Shop" for Students
Ridgeland mom Jan Richardson shares how vouchers will allow private schools to "shop" for students with our tax dollars. When it comes to school choice, parents don't get to choose, the private schools do. Read more here.
Vouchers Deny Funding to Public Schools
Special services director Wendy Rogers explains how the ESA voucher program hurts the more than 50,000 children with special needs in Mississippi's public schools. Vouchers use public tax dollars to pay tuition at private schools, reducing the money available to fund public schools. Read more here.
Coast Mom: School Choice a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
School choice may sound good on the surface, but, as this mom warns, it's really "a wolf in sheep's clothing." Hear Robin Boswell of Ocean Springs explain it here. Louisiana's private school "choice" voucher program has had a negative effect, with voucher students losing ground compared to their public school peers. See details and research here.
School Choice Proponents Spreading False Information
When the facts are inconvenient, the "school choice" crowd makes up its own. A promotional piece placed on legislators' desks by a private school group pushing tax credit scholarships (vouchers) is filled with false and misleading information. Get the real facts and read more here.
Vouchers Fail Children, Waste Taxpayer Dollars
Nationally, research shows that children receiving vouchers to attend private school perform no better than, and often worse than, their peers in public schools. In 2015, Mississippi's leadership pushed through a voucher bill purportedly for children with special needs, despite overwhelming opposition from constituents. That program is serving 107 children, or .0018 of one percent of our state's children with special needs. Meanwhile, special education services for more than 50,000 children in Mississippi public schools are underfunded by $12-million this year. Read more here.
Ed Report Sends Legislators' Education Votes to Your Facebook News Feed
It's here! Ed Report, a new service requested by members of The Parents' Campaign, sends legislators' education votes straight to your Facebook news feed, making it a snap to see and share your lawmakers' votes on important issues like school funding, vouchers, and more. Read about it here.
2016 Legislative Session Begins
Activities in the first week of the 2016 Legislative Session were mostly ceremonial. Though bills have been drafted, they have not yet been posted online for public view. Legislative leaders have staked out their agenda for the session, which includes tax cuts for corporations, revamping the MAEP formula, and school "choice"/privatization. Read more here.
Oh, the Ironies!
Back room deals and political maneuvers? Read here about the interests of average Mississippians, and our school children, being pushed aside by legislative leaders.
2016 Legislative Session Starts January 5
The Mississippi Legislature will convene at noon on Tuesday, January 5. In the coming days, The Parents' Campaign will unveil a new system that will make it easy for you to see your legislators' votes and share them with your friends. Watch for more information on this new service. Want to receive our emails and stay up to date on public education in Mississippi? Click here for our easy sign-up.