Privatization Bill Passes First Committee - Need Calls

Posted 1/26/18

Well, Mississippi, you did yourself proud! THANK YOU for your amazing response to the STAND UP FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS VIRTUAL RALLY! Now we need to keep the momentum going. Our kids need your help again...

The Koch brothers want to take over your local school board and privatize your schools, and Senate Bill 2400 is their vehicle. It has passed the Senate Education Committee and now goes to the Senate Elections Committee before getting to the floor for a vote. (See more on this dangerous bill below.)

Please ask Senate Elections Committee members to STAND UP FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS and either:

Amend SB 2400 to stagger board members' terms

OR

Vote NO on SB 2400

Find contact information for Senate Elections Committee members here

While you are calling, please also remind your legislators to:

Vote NO on any voucher bills

Find contact information for all senators and representatives here

Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770

Share the same message with:

Lt. Governor Reeves Capitol: 601.359.3200

Speaker Gunn Capitol: 601.359.3300

SB 2400 changes the way school boards are elected to remove staggered terms and have all board members elected at the same time. That makes it easier for outsiders to take over your school board. The Koch brothers, billionaire privatizers from Kansas, have used these tactics in other states, pouring millions of dollars into local school board elections, getting their pro-school choice candidates elected to local school boards, and then having the local board vote to give away the local school district's money in vouchers for private school tuition - I kid you not! See the news reports here. Folks in other states have wised up and held recall elections to kick the bad guys off their boards! Read about that here.

We can stop that craziness before it starts.

Any way you look at it, electing all school board members at the same time is a terrible idea. As Sen. Briggs Hopson pointed out in the Education Committee, the work of a school board is complex and very, very important; it usually takes a board member a couple of years to really get up to speed. That isn't a problem in Mississippi now, because the terms are staggered, so boards always have some experienced members in addition to any "new blood."

There's an easy fix: just amend SB 2400 to stagger the board members' terms. Any legislator who resists that move is following the privatizer playbook.

SB 2400 could be taken up in the Senate Elections Committee on Monday or Tuesday. The bill:

  • requires the election of all school board members at the same time, eliminating staggered terms

  • sets the election of all school board members at the time of statewide elections every four years, beginning in 2023

  • changes Natchez-Adams school board selection from an appointed board to all members being elected at the same time - lines 896-999

Thank you again for your terrific response to the Virtual Rally! Keep making those contacts with legislators. Ask your friends to call. Post on social media. Make sure all legislators get the message that we want them to STAND UP FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Our children are counting on us, and together, we've got this!