MAEP Revamp Bill 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. As of this afternoon, the proposal has not been made public and has not been presented to legislators.
With so little legislative review and no public vetting of such a consequential policy change, it would be unconscionable for any legislator to vote for HB 1294 or SB 2607. Last year's special funds sweep debacle provides the perfect example of what happens when complicated legislation is rushed through with insufficient public input. The result is an embarrassing slew of costly unintended consequences. Our children can't afford that.
We don't know of anyone who is opposed to considering changes to our school funding law, but we have heard from no one outside of the legislative leadership who believes that this rushed process is a good idea. Our children deserve a better effort than this.
Please ask your legislators to table any effort to rewrite our school funding law until an open process with public hearings and a full, public vetting of every proposal can take place.
Please continue to talk with your representative about these bills:
• VOTE NO on HB 1036 - Voucher bill that would allow thousands of students to take MAEP dollars to private schools by expanding dyslexia vouchers. Could divert millions of dollars away from public schools and into private schools.
• VOTE NO on HB 1294 - MAEP revamp "dummy" bill. Brings forward current statute for revisions without specifying changes. Gov. Bryant and Lt. Gov. Reeves have stated that a goal is to remove from the law any requirement that the Legislature fund public schools at a particular level.
• VOTE NO on HB 267 - Changes the way school board members are selected. Electing all board members at the time of the statewide or presidential election paves the way for out-of-state privatizers to recruit and fund candidates and take over your local school board.
• VOTE NO on HB 293 - Shortens school year by ten days. Research shows that sufficient time on task is a significant indicator in student achievement.
• VOTE NO on HB 580 - Brings forward current statute related to virtual schools for the purpose of unspecified amendments. Could be amended to allow virtual charters.
Please continue to talk with your senator about these bills:
• VOTE NO on SB 2607 - MAEP revamp "dummy" bill. Brings forward current statute for revisions without specifying changes. Gov. Bryant and Lt. Gov. Reeves have stated that a goal is to remove from the law any requirement that the Legislature fund public schools at a particular level.
• VOTE NO on SB 2036 - Requires school board members who are currently elected to stand for election at the time of the statewide election every four years (no staggered terms). Paves the way for out-of-state privatizers to recruit and fund candidates and take over your local school board.
Find legislators' contact information or leave a message for any legislator at the Capitol switchboard: 601.359.3770.
Share the same message with:
Lt. Gov. Reeves Capitol: 601.359.3200
Speaker Gunn Capitol: 601.359.3300
Gov. Bryant and Lt. Gov. Reeves have said that their preference is to remove from law any requirement that public schools be funded at a particular level, leaving school funding to the discretion of the legislature from one year to the next. School officials would have no way to predict the level of funding they might expect, leaving teachers and important school programs in constant limbo.
Please spread the word to others that we need their help to protect our children's schools. They can sign up to receive our emails or follow our reports on Facebook, Ed Report, and Twitter. Our children are counting on us. And, together, we've got this!