Vouchers, Less Funding, More Bureaucracy Pushed by 2016 Legislature

posted 2/12/2016

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.

Below is a sampling of the troublesome bills that are online thus far.They include proposals to:

  • decrease funding to public schools and create a tax-paid system of private, for-profit, and virtual schools
  • silence educators and deny school board members their right to contact legislators about legislation
  • add layers of bureaucracy at the state level and reduce local control of public schools
  • transfer authority to make decisions about our children's education from professional educators to politicians
  • increase testing and add administrative responsibilities and unfunded mandates at the local level

Hear Vicksburg mom Lauren Stubblefield express her frustration with legislators who forget they were elected to serve the people, not the other way around.

We expect these bills to be pushed through committee and to the floor for votes quickly. Please ask your legislators to vote for bills that support public schools and against bills that hurt our public schools. 

Click here to find contact information for the legislators who represent your school district.

Here are some of the bills of concern and their authors:

HB 29  Frierson - Transfers authority from State Board of Education to legislative PEER committee; all education reports go to PEER; MAEP funds withheld from districts not meeting PEER's requirements

HB 53  Frierson - Individual students' test scores must be submitted to Office of State Auditor to determine sufficient academic progress

HB 1004  Frierson - Opens state statute on school accreditation & accountability standards for unidentified amendments

HB 33  Moore - Expands eligibility for special education voucher program

HB 49  Moore - Educators guilty of misdemeanor & fined up to $10,000 if contact legislators during school day, even on personal phone during break; school board members & superintendents guilty of misdemeanor and fined up to $10,000 if contact legislators at any time about legislation or policy of any kind

HB 76  Moore - Forces school board candidates to declare political party affiliation

HB 228  Moore - Puts A-rated districts in charge of operating adjacent districts rated D or F for two consecutive years

HB 361  Moore - 100% tax deduction for private school expenses, $5,000 cap (tuition, fees, uniforms, textbooks, supplies); 50% deduction for home school or public school expenses, $5,000 cap

HB 453  Moore - Increases required local contribution toward MAEP (reduces state funding)

HB 458  Moore - Opens entire MAEP statute for revisions

HB 459  Moore - Reduces annual increases in MAEP base student cost

HB 466  Moore - Changes definition of at-risk from poverty basis to test score basis (punishes districts doing a good job with low-income students)

HB 469  Moore - Removes requirement that the Legislature fully fund MAEP

HB 943  Moore, Arnold, Bomgar, Boyd, Busby, Byrd, Carpenter, Chism , Crawford, Criswell, Currie, DeLano, Denny, Dixon, Frierson, Formby , Mangold, McLeod, McNeal, Monsour, Mettetal, Oliver, Read - Broad voucher bill; tax-paid tuition to private schools, home schools, virtual schools & for-profits; no accountability

HB 990  Moore - Requires election of all school board members at the time of presidential election (this law used in other states by privatization organizations to successfully fund campaigns of pro-privatization candidates & win pro-privatization majorities on local school boards)

HB 1042  Moore - Statewide open enrollment in charters; ad valorem taxes follow student

HB 1080  Moore, Bomgar, Brown, Currie, Formby, C. Johnson, Touchstone - Provides tax credit scholarships (vouchers) for private schools or for-profit virtual schools

HB 958  Snowden - Educators subject to fine if contact legislators during school day, even on personal phone during break; school board members & superintendents subject to fine if contact legislators at any time about legislation or policy of any kind

HB 30  Formby - Reduces number of schools days from 180 to 170, mandates start date after Labor Day

HB 56  Formby - Mandates that home-schooled students be allowed to participate in public school extracurricular activities

HB 58  Formby - Mandates school start date no earlier than last Monday in August

HB 59  Formby - Prohibits schools from opening before Labor Day 

HB 246  Arnold - Repeals current academic standards & replaces them with California's 2010 math standards & Texas's 2010 English Language Arts standards

HB 47  Currie, Campbell - Individual students' test scores submitted to State Auditor to determine sufficient academic progress

HB 48  Young - Revokes all school districts' home rule authority for 3 to 5 years pending state review of local governance

HB 148  Young - Mandates teacher & administrator classroom duties; imposes sanctions on teachers & administrators whose schools don't meet growth objectives

HB 202  Young - Allows for-profit virtual schools statewide

HB 224  Shirley - Fines schools $1,500 for not reciting Pledge of Allegiance within first hour of school day

HB 450  Shirley - Restricts local school board authority related to ad valorem taxes

HB 209  Scott - Mandates daily homework for students K-12 & other requirements in schools rated C, D, or F

HB 973  Dixon - Requires state superintendent of education be appointed by governor

HB 1060  C. Johnson - Allows home-schooled students to participate in extracurricular activities in public schools

HB 1068  Henley - requires election of school board members at time of presidential election (this law used in other states by privatization organizations to successfully fund campaigns of pro-privatization candidates & win pro-privatization majorities on local school boards)

SB 2101  Fillingane - Requires election, rather than appointment, of state superintendent of education; limits pool of candidates to those residing in Mississippi for at least 15 years

SB 2140  Carmichael - Transfers Office of Educational Accountability from MDE to governor's office; governor appoints executive director

SB 2161  Tollison - Charter schools may locate in C districts without local approval; statewide open enrollment in charters; ad valorem taxes follow student

SB 2279  Wiggins - Establishes commission to recommend changes to MAEP

SB 2431  Wiggins - Changes calculation of school district MAEP allocations to provide more funding to high performing districts; if schools are level funded, could transfer funds away from low-performing & into high-performing districts

SB 2385  Clarke - Broad voucher bill; tax-paid tuition to private schools, home schools, virtual schools, & for-profits; no accountability

SB 2406  Harkins, Clarke, Tindell, Tollison, Parker - Establishes commission to recommend changes to MAEP

We will keep you up to date as bills are posted online and as committee and floor votes are taken, and we will share information specific to your own legislators on their Education Report Facebook pages. Watch your email inbox for updates and ask your friends to join us!