Click here for information by school district, including school funding,
school accountability, and legislators' contact information.
Click here to see the final status of the bills we followed in the 2013 session. School Funding Low on JLBC Priority List
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee has announced its budget recommendation for Fiscal Year 2015, the budget that will be debated in the coming legislative session. Despite significant increases in available revenue, the committee recommended that no additional funding be put toward the MAEP, underfunding schools by $284.5-million for the 2014-2015 school year. Click here
to read more.
Schools Recognized for Progress in Student Achievement
The Mississippi Department of Education recently recognized 57 Title I
schools for improvements in student achievement. All schools cited serve high numbers of students who live at or near the poverty level. Click here
to see the schools recognized.
Governor Recommends Underfunding MAEP by $284.5-million
Governor Bryant today announced his budget recommendation for Fiscal Year 2015, the budget that will be decided in the 2014 legislative session. The governor's budget underfunds the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) by $284.5-million, despite significant increases in state revenue and a $295-million surplus at the end of the 2013 budget year.
In terms of budget increases, public schools rank at the bottom of Governor Bryant's priority list. Read more here.
Public Comments Due Today on Charter School Documents
Today is the deadline for submitting comments to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board regarding its draft documents for charter school applications. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Click here
to view the documents.
Charter School Authorizer Board Invites
Public Input on Charter Application and Scoring Rubric
The Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board has released a draft of its Request for Proposals (RFP) for charter school applications, or Application Guide, as well as a draft of the scoring rubric that will be used to evaluate the proposals. The board has invited the public to provide input on the documents which they will consider prior to adopting the final version. Click here
to read more and to learn how to submit your suggestions.
Charter School Authorizer Board to Meet October 21
The second meeting of the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board is set for Monday, October 21, at 10 a.m. in the board room of the Institutions of Higher Learning in Jackson. The meeting is open to the public. Facing a December 1 deadline to issue the Request for Proposals (RFP) for charter school applications, the board voted at its first meeting in September to seek the Attorney General's approval to hire a contractor to write the RFP. Read a report from the September 19 meeting here.
Public Comments Invited on Proposed Accountability Model
The public has until 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 12, 2013, to weigh in on the proposed new school accountability model, which is set to take effect in this school year. This is the new system by which schools and districts will be rated. It differs significantly from the current accountability system. Click here for details and links to the Mississippi Department of Education's information about the proposed changes.
MDE Issues Pre-K Collaborative Grant RFP posted 10/10/2013
The Mississippi Department of Education has issued a request for proposals for grant funds to be awarded through the Mississippi Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013. Click here to see the eligibility guidelines and how to apply.
Speaker Gunn to Hold 2013 Ideas Tour
House Speaker Philip Gunn will begin his 2013 "Ideas Tour" on October 7, holding meetings in 10 communities to hear what citizens have to say about issues facing Mississippi. You are invited. Read more and see the schedule here.
Mississippi Board of Ed Names New Schools Chief
The State Board of Education has selected Dr. Carey Wright as the new state superintendent of education. Read more here. The Parents' Campaign welcomes Dr. Wright, and we thank interim state superintendent Dr. Lynn House for her many years of devoted service to Mississippi children.
Charter School Authorizer Board Meets
The Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board held its first meeting on September 19. Butler Snow attorney Tommie Cardin of Clinton was elected chair and realtor Chris Wilson of Laurel was elected vice chair. The board faces a December 1 deadline to issue the Request for Proposals (RFP) for charter school applications. Read more here.
MDE Presents FY 2015 Budget Request
The Mississippi Department of Education presented its budget request to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee on September 18. The preliminary MAEP estimate for FY 2015 is $2.35 million and the Base Student Cost is $5,054.94. Click here to see MDE's budget presentation.
State Releases 2013 School Accountability Results
School and school district accountability results have been released, and the news is good. Student achievement in Mississippi continues to improve. Click here to read more and to find your school and district ratings. State Test Scores Released
Test scores from the 2012-2013 school year have been released and the results show that students and teachers are meeting the challenge of increased rigor in their classrooms. The scores will be used to determine school and district accountability ratings which are due to be released in mid-September. You can find district- and school-level test results here. More information is available from MDE here. Statewide highlights:
- Students' MCT2 scores (grades 3 - 8) improved in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math at most grade levels: the number of students scoring proficient and above in ELA grew in grades 3, 4, 5, and 7 and remained about the same as last year in grades 6 and 8; the number of students scoring proficient and above in Math grew in grades 4 - 8 and remained the same as last year in grade 3
- The state's graduation rate improved to 75.5%, up from 73.7% in 2012; the dropout rate fell to 13.9%, down from 16.7% in 2012; Mississippi's graduation rate is now slightly above the national average
- Subject Area Test scores (grades 9 - 12) improved in three of four subjects: Algebra I - 85% passed, up from 82% in 2012; Biology I - 79% passed, up from 75% in 2012; U.S. History - 81% passed, up from 72% in 2012; English II - 73% passed, the same as in 2012
- Science test scores (grades 5 and 8) improved significantly: 63% of 5th graders scored proficient and above, up from 53% in 2012; 64% of 8th graders scored proficient and above, up from 57% in 2012
Misinformation About Common Core Being Circulated
Recently, a few legislators who oppose the implementation of the Common Core State Standards have circulated misinformation about the more rigorous benchmarks that Mississippi has adopted for English/Language Arts and Mathematics. Some of their talking points mimic those of national organizations that have pushed for the dismantling or privatization of public schools. See the myths - and the truth - about these standards here.
See what the experts have to say about the rigor imbedded in the Common Core State Standards here. The Mississippi Department of Education will host community meetings around the state to answer questions about the Common Core State Standards.
Click here to see the dates, times, and locations.
Revenue Surplus Should Go to MAEP
State revenue for the current year has come in well above projections - possibly enough to fully fund the MAEP for the coming school year. Legislators should make good on their promise to adequately fund schools as soon as the funds are available by making the additional appropriation ASAP. Read more.
MS Senator Brice Wiggins in Washington to Promote Pre-K
Senator Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula joined retired military leaders in Washington this week to release a national report showing the benefits of high quality early childhood education. Read more. See Your School District's Funding for Next Year
Click here to see how much state funding your school district will receive next year, how much your district will be underfunded, and how public schools statewide will fare.
Governor Bryant Signs Ed Funding Bill
Governor Bryant has signed the school funding bill for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill under-funds the MAEP by $292-million. State law says that school districts have 10 days from the date that the education appropriations bill is signed to notify teachers of non-renewal. Click here to see what the funding bill includes.
Legislature Adjourns Sine Die
The House and Senate have adjourned the 2013 Regular Legislative Session. The Parents' Campaign thanks our members and legislators for their hard work. Click here to see the final status of the education bills that we have followed.
Charter Bill Passes Senate
posted 4/3/2013 11:55 a.m.
The charter school bill passed the Senate this morning 34-18. See vote report here. The bill now heads to Gov. Bryant for his signature. Click here to read why The Parents' Campaign endorsed this legislation.
Pre-K Passes House and Senate
posted 4/2/2013 6:00 p.m.
The House and Senate have passed the pre-k bill, authorizing the first ever state funding of pre-school classes in Mississippi. This is a great day for Mississippi's children! Many thanks to Rep. Barker and Sen. Wiggins for their hard work on this critical issue.
See the House vote here. See the Senate vote here.
Charter Bill Passes House
posted 4/2/2013 10:15 a.m.
The charter school bill passed the House 62-56. See vote report here. The bill should come up in the Senate soon.
Charter is 8th on House Calendar, 10th on Senate Calendar
Should Come Up Early
The charter bill should come up early today in both the House and Senate. the House convenes at 9:00 a.m., the Senate at 10:00. We will notify our members by email and text message when debate begins. You can watch the proceedings online at http://www.legislature.ms.gov/Pages/Web-Cast.aspx.
Agreement Reached on Charter Schools
The charter schools conference report was filed this evening, just prior to the 8 p.m. deadline. It holds the House's position on charters: prohibits for-profits from managing charter schools; gives permanent veto authority to A, B, and C districts; limits the number of charters authorized to 15 annually; and does not allow students to cross district lines to attend charter schools in another district. Please ask your legislators to vote yes on the HB 369 conference report. This is a plan that will help focus charters in areas where we have chronically underperforming schools and will keep out for-profit operators (including virtuals), whose priority is shareholders rather than children. Click here to see why The Parents' Campaign supports this conference report. Education Conference Reports Filed
See summaries here.
Final K-12 Budget Adopted
The conference report for HB 1648 was adopted by the House and Senate on Easter Sunday, 3/31/13. This is the final K-12 budget for the 2013-2014 school year and includes the following items:
- Level funding of MAEP - same next year as this year; MAEP will be underfunded by $292-million
- $27-million - increased retirement costs
- Full funding - Chickasaw Cession
- Full funding - National Board Certification program
- $10-million - teacher supply fund (an increase of $2-million over current year)
- $9.5-million - literacy initiative
- $3-million - pre-k matching grant program
- $3-million - Mississippi Building Blocks (pre-k)
- $1.5-million - merit pay pilot program in four districts (Clarksdale, Gulfport, Lamar County, Rankin County)
- $1.5-million - teacher scholarship program
- $6-million - Teach for America
- $5.5-million - Mississippi Community Oriented Policing Services in Schools program
- $2-million - digital learning pilot program in two districts (Booneville and Hattiesburg)
K-12 Budget Agreement Reached
Budget negotiators reached an agreement on K-12 funding today. If passed by the April 1 deadline with no changes, it will provide to schools in the 2013-2014 school year:
- Level funding of MAEP - this will leave MAEP underfunded by $292-million next year
- $27-million to cover increased retirement costs
- Full funding of the Chickasaw Cession and the National Board Certification program
- Additional funding (not taken out of MAEP) for a literacy initiative, early childhood education, a merit pay pilot program in four districts, and the Mississippi Community Oriented Policing Services in Schools program
Appropriations Conference Reports Being Finalized
Legislators have been busy today (Friday) finalizing conference reports on appropriations bills. Watch for news on the K-12 funding bill tomorrow. We also are concerned about the literacy bill. Please remind your legislators that reading coaches and teacher training should be expressly required in the literacy bill's language, and that the whole bill should be subject to appropriation. Legislators will be in session beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Representatives Being Pressured to Accept Bad Charter Language
Word at the Capitol is that House members are being pressured to vote for any charter school legislation that comes back in a conference report - no matter how bad. Legislators should vote only for a charter school bill that focuses charter schools in D and F districts, prohibits for-profits from managing charter schools, and prohibits virtual charter schools.
House Reconsiders HB 890 - Votes to Invite Conference
Today, the House voted 61-56 to invite conference on HB 890, House Education Chairman John Moore noted that the bill is subject to a point of order if the conference report includes charter school language (which would kill the bill - because the original version of HB 890 did not contain the proper code sections for charter schools).
House Defeats Motion to Invite Conference HB 890
MAEP Funding Could be in Jeopardy
Today, the House defeated a motion to invite conference on HB 890. The bill was held on a motion to reconsider and could come up for a vote again on Wednesday or Thursday. Thursday is the deadline. Meanwhile, MAEP funding could be in jeopardy. It is possible that a change could be made to the formula that would reduce the amount of funding that is considered "adequate." Read more here.
No Action Today on HB 890
The House did not take up HB 890 today, so it remains on the calendar with a deadline of March 28 to concur or invite conference. In its current form, as amended by the Senate, HB 890 allows for-profits to operate charter schools, opens C, D & F districts to charter schools without local board approval, and creates an unfunded literacy mandate for districts. Representatives should vote to send the bill to conference so that it can be fixed. An even better option would be to let HB 890 die on the calendar so that the important issues can be addressed individually through separate bills that already are in conference.
Schools Need At Least Level Funding
State revenue is coming in well above projections, but corporate give-aways and reform initiatives could pose threats to level funding of the MAEP. Word at the capitol is that MAEP could be cut in order to fund reform measures.
More Trouble in Virtual Schools
The Tennessee Virtual Academy, a for-profit virtual school that lawmakers promoted as a way to improve eduucation, is accused of altering student grades in an effort to cover up its poor performance. The vice principal of the virtual school directed teachers in an email to delete the low progress reports. The school is run by K-12, Inc., a firm that has lobbied Mississippi lawmakers to allow for-profit and virtual schools in our state. Read more here.
Some Ed Bills Die on Deadline Day
Senate Charter Bill Dies in House, Other Charter Bills Alive
Following tonight's floor vote deadline, some education bills are dead, including the Senate charter school bill. Other education bills, including two with charter school language, remain alive. See more here.
House and Senate Pass Ed Bills
House Expected to Take Up Senate Charter Tomorrow
The House is expected to take up the Senate charter school bill tomorrow. We need to be sure that the bill:
* Removes the New Start School provision (read more)
* Prohibits for-profits from managing charter schools
* Focuses charter schools where they are needed: where existing schools are chronically underperforming
* Does not allow virtual charter schools
Today, the House passed the Senate pre-k bill after amending it to reflect the House language, another important step toward a real victory for our youngest children. The House pre-k bill remains on the Senate calendar.
The Senate passed HB 890, the bill that the Senate Education Committee had loaded up with all kinds of issues. They removed the New Start School language (a good move!), but the bill still allows for-profits to manage charter schools and provides a terribly insufficient literacy initiative. The Senate has stripped the literacy piece of the training and reading coaches that would improve instruction, leaving only increased reporting requirements for teachers and an unfunded mandate for schools.
House Kills Appointed Supts Bill, Amends Gov's Ed Works
Today the House voted down SB 2199, which would have required that all superintendents be appointed by their school boards (rather than elected). The House also amended Governor Bryant's Education Works bill (SB 2658) to strip it of the requirement that students have a 21 on the ACT to enter schools of education. The Senate did not take up any education bills today. Wednesday is the deadline for bills to be taken up for a floor vote.
"New Start" Amendment to Charter Threatens Good Schools
A "New Start School" amendment made to the charter school bills in both chambers threatens good schools. Click here to read more.
Senate Ed Amends Bill in Last-Minute Meeting
In a short-notice, late afternoon meeting, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee proposed an amendment to HB 890 that inserted language from a number of bills - including bills from last year. The move took committee members by surprise and had them scrambling to decipher what was in the enormous omnibus bill. The amended bill addresses charter schools, New Start Schools, a literacy initiative, teacher education program entry requirements, and scholarships. See details here.
K-12 Funding Bill Passes House
HB 1648, the K-12 funding bill, was passed by the House today on a vote of 119-1. The bill funds K-12 public schools for FY 2014 at the same level as that of the current year (FY 2013), plus funds to cover an increase in retirement costs. If this were to be adopted as the final appropriations bill, the total underfunding of MAEP for FY 2014 would be $300,597,101. See the vote. Pre-K Bill Advances
Controversial Bills Left to Die on Calendar
HB 781, a bill that would provide the state's first funding to early childhood education, has passed the House on a 93-19 vote. See that vote here.
SB 2141, which would have required that all school board members be elected at the time of the presidential election, was amended to create a task force to study the issue.
Both chambers adjourned leaving a number of bills that would have been harmful to public education to die on the calendar. These bills will not survive tonight's midnight deadline:
HB 906 - Tax credit scholarships for private school tuition
HB 1004 - Tuition vouchers to private schools for special education students; did not require private schools to provide special education services
HB 519 - Allowed taxing authorities to usurp school board's authority to request funding increases
SB 2714 - Charter school district for Sunflower County with at least one virtual charter school
No Further Action on Bills TPC is Tracking
Neither the House nor the Senate took action today on bills being tracked by The Parents' Campaign. You can find the bills we are tracking here. Tomorrow is the deadline for the House and Senate to take original floor action on bills that were drafted in their own chambers.
Senate Passes Appointed Superintendents and Governor's Education Works Bills
The Senate has passed SB 2199 which requires that all school superintendents be appointed by their school boards, effective January of 2016. It also allows for a reverse referendum through which a county can decide whether to appoint or elect the superintendent, provided that the referendum is held at the time of the November general election in 2013 or 2014. See the vote.
Governor Bryant's Education Works bill, SB 2658, also passed the full Senate. This bill raises entry requirements for teacher education programs, provides scholarships for top-tier students who enter teacher education programs, and provides a $6,000 supplement for up to five years for education scholar program graduates who teach in schools rated D or F. See the vote.
Click here for more information on these bills and others we support.
House Passes Governor's Education Works Bill & Districts of Innovation
posted 2/11/2013 5:08 p.m.
Late this afternoon on a vote of 111-4, the House passed HB 890, Gov. Bryant's bill to establish a reading initiative, raise admission standards for teacher education, and implement a pilot program for performance-based compensation for teachers. The bill was amended on the House floor to add a $5,000-a-year teacher pay raise. See the vote. HB 118 also passed the full House. This bill allows public school districts to apply to MDE to become Districts of Innovation. Districts of Innovation would be freed from some of the regulations governing public schools in exchange for implementing innovative programs. See the vote.
Senate Passes Education Legislation
posted 2/7/2013 5:00 p.m.
The Senate passed the following education bills today:
SB 2395, Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013. This bill will provide Mississippi's first state funding for pre-kindergarten programs. See the vote. SB 2347, Senate version of the third grade literacy initiative. Unfortunately, the Senate bill omits the training and reading coaches that were central to the success of the Florida initiative after which this bill was intended to be modeled. The House version includes this critical element, and we are hopeful that it will be included in the final version of the bill. See the vote.
Please Contact Your Legislators
A number of bills that could have a dramatic impact on Mississippi's public education system are being debated in the House and Senate this week. Some bills that we believe could have a significant negative impact are listed below.
Please contact your legislators about these bills:
House Bill 519: Gives boards of supervisors and municipalities veto authority over school districts' requests for increases in local funding. Would give undue influence to entities that are not tasked with providing a high quality education to public school children. Vote no.
House Bill 906: Provides state support for tuition to private schools. Vote no.
House Bill 1004: Provides vouchers for tuition to private schools using MAEP funds. The bill purports to provide better service to children with special needs, though the private schools receiving vouchers are not required to provide any special needs services and are not required to comply with the IEP ruling. Also allows special needs students to transfer to other school districts; the receiving district must accept the students if there is capacity. Vote no.
Senate Bill 2141: Requires that all school board members be elected at November general election. This would remove all continuity and historical/institutional knowledge from the school board. Running a school district is important and complicated, and it takes months for a school board member to come up to speed on the important issues that these boards must decide. A complete turnover of the board in the middle of a school year would be unnecessarily disruptive and could do serious harm to a district. Terms should be staggered to provide continuity. Vote no.
Senate Bill 2347: The Senate version of the third grade literacy initiative omits the reading coaches and training of teachers and principals that Florida representatives testified is critical to the success of the initiative (this program is modeled after Florida's successful reading initiative.) SB 2347 should be amended to include reading coaches in schools and training of principals and teachers in research-based reading intervention. Vote no if not amended to include training and reading coaches.
Senate Bill: 2714: Creates a charter school district in Sunflower County. Includes provisions that could be detrimental to students in Sunflower County, including a mandate that the charter district include at least one virtual charter school. Vote no.
Click here to see the bills we support.
Ed Bills Moving to House and Senate Floor
This is an important week for education legislation. Yesterday was the deadline for committees to pass bills and move them to the full House and Senate for consideration. Numerous education bills will be coming the floor in each chamber, beginning today. See our bill summaries page here. House Education Committee Passes Neo-voucher Bill
The House Education Committee has passed a bill that would reduce state revenue to fund private school tuition. HB 906 uses tax credits to fund scholarships to private academies, reducing the state revenue that is available to fund public schools. Please ask your representative to vote against HB 906. The bill could go to the full House for a vote any time. Read more.
House Passes Charter School Bill
posted 1/24/2013, 1:02 a.m.
The House completed the reading of the entire bill, then passed HB 369 on a vote of 64-55. Over a dozen amendments were proposed, but only the amendment closing the for-profit loophole passed. Debate began around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon and final passage happened at 12:50 a.m. on Thursday. See the vote here.
Charter School Bill Still on House Floor
posted 1/23/2013, 10:40 p.m.
After several hours of debate, a representative called for HB 369 to be read aloud, in completion. That reading is underway and is expected to take a few hours. House members are likely to vote on the bill after midnight.
For-profits Removed from House Charter Bill
posted 1/23/2013, 3 p.m.
The House amended, on a voice vote, HB 369 to specify that charter schools and any education service provider which provides comprehensive management for a charter school must be a non-profit education organization. The bill itself is still being debated on the House floor.
House Taking up Charter Today at 2 p.m.
The word at the Capitol is that the House will take up HB 369, its charter school bill, at 2:00 p.m. today. You can watch the debate live online at
House Education Committee Passes Charter Bill
Removes Exemption Regarding Textbook Companies
This morning, the House Education Committee passed HB 369, the charter school bill, on a vote of 16 yeas, 14 nays. The committee first passed an amendment removing the exemption of charter schools from the conflict of interest law that prohibits traditional schools' employees and board members from representing or working for textbook publishing companies. Read more here.
House Charter Bill Rewrites Conflict of Interest Statute
Benefits For-Profit Textbook Companies
HB 369, the charter school bill, rewrites the conflict of interest law that prohibits school board members, superintendents and teachers from being employees of textbook companies. It keeps the needed restriction in place for traditional (non-charter) public schools, but, unbelievably, specifically exempts charter schools' employees and board members. The exemption is on page 211, line 5319 of the bill. See the bill here.
Good Charter Schools Can Be Achieved in Mississippi
Only a few sentences are required to make HB 369 a charter bill that is good for kids. Research abounds that tells us how legislation should be written to increase the likelihood that Mississippi's charter schools will be good ones, not the failing charter schools that plague other states. Improvements to HB 369 should include requiring that charter schools and their management organizations be non-profit and removing the conflict of interest exemption regarding textbook companies.
House Version of Charter School Bill Goes to Education Committee
The House version of a charter school bill was referred to the House Education Committee today. HB 369 allows charter schools in any district in the state. Local school boards must approve charters in A, B, and C districts. Students may not cross district lines to attend charter schools. Virtual charter schools are not explicitly prohibited. The bill contains the same loophole as SB 2189 that would allow for-profit corporations to run charter schools using taxpayer dollars. Read more here.
Senate Passes Charter School Bill
posted 1/16/2013 6:40 p.m.
The Senate passed its charter school bill, SB 2189, on a vote of 31-17. It was held on a motion to reconsider, which means the vote will be revisited, but we do not expect a different outcome. The bill was amended to allow a school's charter to be revoked when it is rated "F" for two consecutive years (the original bill allowed three years). Six other amendments failed, including one that would have prevented charter schools and organizations that contract with charter schools from donating to political campaigns or expending funds to influence elections. Read more here.
Charter School Bill in Senate Today
UPDATE at 10:12 a.m.: Without taking up any bills, the Senate recessed until 1:30 p.m. today.
Call Your Senator and Lt. Gov. Reeves
The charter school bill, SB 2189, could go to the full Senate for a vote as early as tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 a.m.
Please call your senator and Lt. Gov. Reeves and ask them to:
Limit charter schools to chronically underperforming school zones
Grant charters only to applicants with a track record of success
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves Capitol: 601-359-3200
Find the senators who represent your school district here.
Senate Education Committee Passes Charter School Bill
The Senate Education Committee passed a charter school bill this morning that allows charter schools in every district in the state. It also allows for-profit corporations to run charter schools and does not have a requirement that charters may be granted only to applicants with a proven record of success. The good news is that the committee approved an amendment offered by Sen. David Blount to strike virtual charter schools from the bill. Click here to see the full text of the bill.
Senate Education Committee Taking Up Charter Bill
posted 1/14/2013 6:40 p.m.
The word is that the Senate Education Committee is likely to take up a charter school bill tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Interestingly, 36 Senate education bills were posted online this afternoon, but the charter school bill was not. Therefore, the public will not have a chance to read the bill before it is debated.
This bill is expected to be similar to the one outlined in a joint education committee meeting in December.
Click here to see key elements of that bill.
Please call your legislators and ask that they amend the bill to:
Join Us in Long Beach on January 17 for a Meeting on School Reform
Join us on Thursday, January 17, from 5-6 p.m. for a community meeting - "School Reform and Charter Schools: What They Mean for Long Beach." The event is free and open to the public, and will be held at Harper McCaughan Elementary School, 19200 Pineville Road, Long Beach.
New Website for Mississippi Legislature
The Mississippi Legislature has a new website: http://www.legislature.ms.gov/Pages/default.aspx You can find the House education bills that have been filed here. You can find the Senate education bills that have been filed here.
No bills have been taken up in committee as of this afternoon.
House and Senate Convene 2013 Legislative Session
The House and Senate convened the 2013 Legislative Session at noon today. The House Education Committee will hold an organizational meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1:00 p.m. in room 204 of the Capitol. As of this posting, no Senate Education Committee meetings have been scheduled.
Join Us in Tupelo on January 15 for a Town Hall on School Reform
Join us in Tupelo Tuesday, January 15, at 6:30 p.m. for a town hall meeting - "School Reform and Charter Schools: What They Mean for Northeast MS." The event is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Parish Hall of All Saints' Episcopal Church, 608 W. Jefferson St. Co-sponsored by Parents for Public Schools and the North Mississippi Education Consortium. Read more.
Are Our Public Schools for Sale?
House and Senate Education Committee members met jointly to hear proposals for a plan that would require that students not reading proficiently at the end of third grade be retained and for a charter school bill containing a number of controversial elements.Read more.
Legislative Budget Committee Issues Recommendation
The Legislative Budget Committee has released its recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2014, the coming budget year. The committee did not recommend any increase in funding for the MAEP. If the Legislative Budget Committee's recommendation were to be adopted, K-12 schools would be underfunded by over $300-million for the coming year. This raises questions about the level of seriousness legislative leaders are giving to school reform. The Legislative Budget Committee's plan is only a recommendation. It is seen as a starting point for budget negotiations that will take place during the legislative session.
Joint House and Senate Education Committee Meeting on Charter Schools Today
Out of respect for Senator Alice Harden and her family, the Thursday, December 13 joint meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees on charter school legislation has been canceled. Charter schools will be discussed in today's joint committee meeting, from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. in Room 113 of the Capitol.
Joint House and Senate Education Committee Meetings Next Week
Next Wednesday and Thursday, December 12 and 13, there will be joint meetings of the House and Senate Education Committees to discuss education legislation for the coming session. Wednesday's meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. and will address general education legislation. Tuesday's meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will be a work session on charter school legislation. Both meetings will be held in Room 113 of the Capitol and are open to the public.
Friday, December 7, is the deadline for the public to submit written comments on charter school legislation to be considered at Thursday's work session. Send written comments by email to email@example.com or by fax to 601-359-9210.
Gov. Bryant Unveils 2013 Education Agenda
Governor Bryant has announced his education agenda for the 2013 Legislative Session.
Join Us in Meridian on November 26 for a Forum on School Reform
Join us in Meridian on November 26 for a Forum on School Reform, co-sponsored by Parents for Public Schools. The event is set for 6 p.m. at the EMEPA Auditorium, Highway 39 North. This is a free event; no RSVP required. Read more.
Governor Announces Executive Budget Recommendation
Governor Bryant has announced his recommendation for the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, the budget that will be decided in the coming legislative session. His recommendation includes level funding for the MAEP, which would under-fund schools by over $300-million. This would make it virtually impossible for the lieutenant governor and many legislators to reach their stated goal of returning to full funding by 2014. The governor's budget also includes funding for some important school reform initiatives. Read more.
Submit Your Comments About Charter School Legislation
The House and Senate Education Committees will hold a joint work session on charter school legislation on Thursday, December 13, at 10 a.m. in Room 113 of the Capitol. You can submit written comments for the committees' consideration either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 601-359-9210. The submission deadline is 5 p.m. on December 7.
Changes in Education Committee Could Alter Charter School Outcome
House Speaker Philip Gunn Wants Your Ideas
House Speaker Philip Gunn will be traveling Mississippi the week of October 8, asking constituents what they would like the Mississippi Legislature to address. You are invited to attend a meeting near you. Click here for the schedule and more information.
MDE Presents FY14 Budget Request
Legislator Suggests Scrapping MAEP
posted 9/20/2012 The Mississippi Department of Education told the Legislative Budget Committee in its budget hearing that an increase of $300-million will be required to fully fund the MAEP for the next school year. In each of the last 5 years, the Legislature has fallen farther and farther away from what state law says is its obligation to our children. In response, some lawmakers are suggesting that the monetary standard should be lowered - at the same time they are demanding higher standards for our schools. Click here to read more.
School and District Accountability Ratings Are Out!
School and district accountability ratings for 2012 have been released, and the news is encouraging! The number of schools with the highest ratings continues to increase while the number rated below Successful continues to fall. Read more here. Click here to find your school and district ratings.
State Test Scores Released
The state test scores released today show Mississippi's student achievement continues to improve.
MCT scores improved in every subject and every grade tested
The state's graduation rate improved to 73.7%, up from 71,4% in 2011
The state's dropout rate improved to 16.7%, down from 17% last year
High School Subject Area Test (SATP) scores improved in English and Biology and dropped slightly in Algebra
A new, more rigorous U.S. History test was administered for the first time (these scores will not count toward school ratings until the second year the test is administered)
Click here to see additional information on test scores posted by the Mississippi Department of Education.
School Closings Due to Hurricane Isaac
Check here for the latest information on school closings, provided by the Mississippi Department of Education.
Teachers and students are back at work, and we are excited about the possibilities a new school year brings. School ratings will be released soon, and we'll post that and all the latest education policy news here to keep you up to date.
"Education reform" appears to be the hot topic among legislators and state leaders. We at TPC are reviewing a broad spectrum of school reform initiatives so that we can educate parents about the successes and misfires experienced in other states. Keep watching this site for important news and information.
Dr. Lynn House Named Interim State Superintendent
The State Board of Education has named Dr. Lynn House Interim State Superintendent of Education. Dr. House will assume this post on July 1, 2012, upon the retirement of Dr. Tom Burnham. Dr. House currently serves as Deputy State Superintendent in Charge of Instructional Enhancement and Internal Operations at the Mississippi Department of Education. Her career has included service as a classroom teacher and principal and as the Dean of the School of Education at Delta State University. We look forward to working with Dr. House in her new role.
State Supt. Dr. Tom Burnham Announces Retirement
Dr. Tom Burnham has announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2012. Dr. Burnham has had a distinguished career in education that has spanned 43 years and includes two stints as our state's top education official. He is extremely passionate about helping children succeed, and his entire professional career has been devoted to that end. Please join me in thanking Dr. Burnham for the many contributions he has made to the education of our children. We wish him well in his retirement!
Governor Signs K-12 Funding Bill
Governor Bryant has signed HB 1593, the K-12 education appropriations bill. While the appropriation for the coming year provides an increase of $19.38-million over this year's funding level, that amount is not enough to cover the $23-million increase in the cost of retirement that school districts will have to pay. The mandatory increase in retirement payments will leave our classrooms with $3.57-million less than they had to spend this year on things other than retirement, and the MAEP will be underfunded by almost $260-million.
See how your own school district fared in the funding scenario by clicking here.
Read more about the effect of the retirement increase on MAEP expenditures here.
Note: State law says that the deadline for school districts to notify teachers of nonrenewal is April 15 or ten days after the governor signs the K-12 appropriations bill, whichever is later. The original statute was ambiguous about whether the ten days refers to calendar or business days, and so districts have been allowed to interpret it either way. The latest date by which districts must notify this year's teachers of nonrenewal is May 24 (counting business days). The governor has also signed SB 2424 which clarifies that districts have only 10 calendar days after the signing of the appropriations bill by which to notify teachers, but that bill won't go into effect until July 1.
House and Senate Adjourn Sine Die
The House and Senate have adourned the 2012 Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature.
House and Senate Finish Work on Education Bills
No Charter School Bill This Session
posted 4/30/2012 8:47 p.m.
-To move charter school legislation forward in this session, conferees faced an 8 p.m. deadline for filing a conference report on HB 1152. That deadline has passed with no conference report. There are no further options for consideration of charter school legislation before the end of this legislative session on May 6. We are disappointed that legislators were not able to reach a compromise on a charter school bill that would focus our state's scarce resources on helping children who are trapped in chronically underperforming schools. Our hope is that leaders now will turn toward crafting a strong bill for the 2013 legislative session that will target charter schools in a fiscally responsible way to improve student achievement and give children a brighter future.
House and Senate Pass K-12 Funding Bill
Today the House and Senate adopted the conference report on HB 1593, the K-12 funding bill. The final bill funds the MAEP at a level lower than that passed by the House and Senate earlier in the session, but over the current year's level by $19.4-million. That amount is short of the $23-million that will be required to fund a mandatory increase in retirement costs. The net effect for next year will be $3.6-million less than this year going to classrooms. The MAEP will be underfunded next year by almost $260-million.
The bill also:
Provides a total of $8-million for teacher supplies (increase over current year)
Fully funds the National Board Certification Program and Chickasaw Cession payments
Reduces by half the allocation for high-growth districts (resulting in about same funding as current year)
Appropriates $6-million for Teach for America
Allocates $500,000 to fund a study of the MAEP formula
The Senate adopted the conference report on a morning roll call vote, with no nays and 1 voting "present."
In the House, Rep. Cecil Brown offered a motion to recomit the bill to conference, requesting that the conference committee add more funding to MAEP. That motion failed on a vote of 48-67, with 7 voting "present." The conference report then was adopted by the House on a vote of 115-6.
K-12 Funding Bill Near Completion
The conference report on HB 1593, the K-12 funding bill, should be signed and filed soon. The report has not been provided publicly yet, but it apparently funds the MAEP at a level lower than that passed by the House and Senate in recent weeks. It funds the MAEP at $19.4-million over the current level, but does not provide funds to cover the mandatory $23-million increase in retirement costs. The net effect for next year will be $3.6-million less than this year going to classrooms. A full update will be posted as soon as official details are available.
No Action Today on K-12 Conference Reports
No conference reports have been filed today on the education bills we are following. Watch here for updates on the charter school bill and the K-12 appropriation, which are being negotiated in conference committees. Conferees for both bills are listed below. Conferees Assigned to Charter School Bill
Conferees were assigned this afternoon to HB 1152, the charter school bill. The deadline for the committee to file its conference report on the bill is Monday, April 30. Please contact these conferees and ask them to fix the bill in conference (see post on 4/23/12 below). We need this conference committee to ensure that HB 1152 is a strong charter school bill that will help improve student achievement in underperforming schools.
Click here to email all six conferees, or copy and paste their email addresses: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Call House conferees:
Rep. Chuck Espy, 601-359-9391; Rep. Brad Mayo, 601-359-2431; Rep. John Moore, 601-359-3330
Call Senate conferees:
Appropriations Conferees Meeting
Conference committees assigned to appropriations (budget) bills are meeting today to hammer out compromise budgets with a goal of finishing their work by Friday. Conferees named to the K-12 appropriations bill (HB 1593) are:
Rep. Herb Frierson, Rep. John Moore, Rep. Toby Barker
The Charter School Bill is Going to Conference!
The House has voted to send HB 1152, the bill that the Senate amended to insert broad charter school language, to conference. The Senate version of the bill allows charter schools statewide and does not require a track record of success. The conference committee, made up of three members from the House and three from the Senate, will negotiate a compromise. The bill needs to be fixed in conference to:
Focus charter schools only where there are chronically underperforming schools
Prohibit virtual charter schools (current version does this, need to maintain it)
Ensure that charter school management organizations have a track record of success
Make the State Board of Education the only authorizer
Require that charter schools and their management organizations be non-profit
Once conferees are named, we will post their contact information on this site. In the meantime, please contact your senator and your representative and let them know where you stand on this issue.
Capitol Switchboard: 601-359-3770
What We're Watching This Week
Of the bills on which The Parents' Campaign took a position, only one remains on the calendar awaiting floor action. The deadline is this Thursday, April 26, for the House to concur or not concur on HB 1152, the charter school bill. Several other bills already have been sent to conference; conferees have not been named at this point. Another bill that has generated quite a bit of interest is HB 707 (amended by the Senate), which also has an April 26 deadline for concurrence or nonconcurrence in the House. HB 707 requires that schools start each year no earlier than the third Monday in August, beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. The minimum number of days that students must be in school has not changed; it remains 180 days. Therefore, if schools start later in August they will have to adjust their schedules accordingly, which will affect holidays, breaks, and/or the ending date of the school year.
K-12 Funding Bill Goes to Conference
Yesterday, the House declined to concur with the Senate's strike-all amendment to HB 1593, the K-12 funding bill, and invited conference on the bill. The Senate strike-all version of HB 1593 increases overall K-12 funding for FY 2013 by $23.5-million over the current FY 2012 level, while the original bill passed by the House in March increased overall K-12 funding by $34.2-million. House and Senate conferees now will meet in a conference committee to work out a final agreement on K-12 funding.
House Should Send Charter School Bill to Conference
HB 1152 could come up in the House any time between now and April 26. The bill needs to be amended in conference to ensure that Mississippi attracts only the strongest charter school providers into areas where existing schools are failing our children. Ask your representative to vote "No" on the motion to concur and "Yes" on the motion to invite conference on HB 1152.
Capitol Switchboard: 601-359-3770
Senate Passes K-12 Funding Bill
The Senate passed a strike-all amendment to HB 1593, the K-12 funding bill, this morning on a unanimous vote. The amendment provides an increase in MAEP funding of $23.4-million over the current year, which is intended to cover the $17.9-million increase generated by the MAEP formula as well as funding for high growth districts. The Senate strike-all version of HB 1593 increases overall K-12 funding for FY 2013 by $23.5-million, while the original version of HB 1593 that was passed by the House in March increased overall K-12 funding by $34.2-million. Both versions fully fund the National Board Certification program and the Chickasaw Cession payments. The Senate version underfunds MAEP for the 2012-2013 school year by $255-million and the House version underfunds it by $251-million. The bill now will go to the House for concurrence or nonconcurrence. If the House declines to concur with the Senate's amended version, the bill will go to conference to work out the differences.
Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Amended K-12 Funding Bill
This afternoon, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amended version of HB 1593, the K-12 funding bill. Details of the budget plan are not yet available. Watch for updates.
Senate Amends HB 1152, Inserts Charter School Language posted 4/11/2012
The Senate has amended HB 1152 to include charter school language similar to the language in SB 2401, the charter school bill that passed the Senate several weeks ago and died in the House Education Committee. The primary difference in the new Senate charter bill is that it gives Successful school districts a three-year window in which their local boards may reject charter school applicants. After July 1, 2015, Successful school districts would be subject to charter schools locating within their borders just as are those rated Academic Watch and below. HB 1152 also weakens the voice of the State Department of Education on the authorizer board. The original Senate bill gave two board appointments to the governor, two to the lieutenant governor, two to the state superintendent of education, and one to the IHL commissioner. HB 1152 gives three appointments each to the governor and lieutenant governor and one to the state superintendent of education. The bill passed 31 to 19. You can see the Senate vote here. The bill will now go to the House for concurrence or nonconcurrence.
The Parents' Campaign believes that this bill needs more work; therefore, the House should not concur with the Senate version and should invite conference.
Charter School Bill Being Debated Now
Senate Adjourns for Today; No Action on Charter Schools
Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison declined to take up HB 1152 in the Senate today. The bill retains its place on the Senate calendar with a deadline of floor action by tomorrow. The Senate will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
House and Senate Begin to Work Through Calendars
posted 4/4/2012 The House and Senate spent the day taking up bills on their respective calendars. They have both adjourned for the day with no further action being taken on charter school legislation. Click here to see the progress made on education legislation that we are tracking. Both chambers will convene at 9 a.m. tomorrow. You can watch the House and Senate proceedings live via webcast at http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/ls_webcast.htm.
Senate May Take Up Charter Schools Again
posted 4/3/2012 2:10 p.m.
The word at the Capitol is that there is a move planned to amend HB 1152 on the Senate Floor to insert charter school language. We now have another chance to get this right!
Please ask your senator to vote for a charter school bill that will:
Allow charter schools only in underperforming school zones
Prohibit virtual charter schools
Ensure that charter school management organizations have a track record of success
Make the State Board of Education the only authorizer
Require that charter schools and their management organizations be non-profit
The Senate has until April 11 to take action on HB 1152, but they could
take it up at any time. Please call your senator today.
Capitol Switchboard: 601-359-3770
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves: 601-359-3200 House Education Committee Defeats Charter School Bill
4/3/2012 1:40 p.m.
The House Education Committee defeated the charter school bill on a 15-16 vote. The issue is not dead, however. There is still another bill that can be amended in the Senate to insert charter school language.
No Action on Charter School Bill Today
posted 4/2/2012 5:16 p.m.
The House Education Committee met this afternoon without taking up the charter school bill. The committee is scheduled to meet again tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1 p.m. Check here for updates Tuesday afternoon.
House Education Committee to Meet Later This Afternoon
posted 4/2/2012 2:45 p.m.
The House Education Committee is scheduled to meet this afternoon following adjournment of the House's 4 p.m. session. The deadline for passing the charter school bill out of the committee is tomorrow. Watch here for updates.
Charter School Bill Postponed Again
posted 3/29/2012 4:50 p.m.
House Education Chairman John Moore announced in the late afternoon meeting of his committee that they would not take up the charter school bill at all today. He has called another meeting of the committee for Monday following the House's 4 p.m. session, however, he did not commit to taking up the charter school bill at that meeting either. The deadline for moving the charter school bill out of committee is Tuesday, April 3. The entire House and Senate have adjourned for the weekend.
Charter School Bill Update
posted 3/29/2012 1:14 p.m.
When House Education Chairman John Moore convened the 1:00 p.m. House Education Committee this afternoon, he announced that he would not take up the charter school bill until later today. The committee will meet again 30 minutes after the House adjourns its 2:00 p.m. floor session. Stay tuned for updates.
Charter Bill Discussion to Continue Thursday in House Education Committee
The House Education Committee took up SB 2401, the charter school bill, this afternoon. Chairman John Moore presented the leadership's proposed amendments and the committee engaged in debate on the bill until the meeting was halted by Chairman Moore at 4:30 p.m. Discussion of the charter bill is expected to resume tomorrow (3/29/12) in a 1 p.m. meeting of the full committee.
House Education Committee May Vote on Charter School Bill Tomorrow
SB 2401, the charter school bill, is expected to be taken up by the House Education Committee tomorrow at 1 p.m. The following amendments are needed: restrict charters to underperforming school zones, require charter management organizations to have a track record of success, ensure that for-profit companies cannot run charter schools, and make the State Board of Education the single authorizer of charter schools.
Call your representative and members of the House Education Committee; ask them to make sure the bill is amended in committee.
Capitol Switchboard: 601-359-3770. See contact information for committee members here.
K-12 Funding Bill Goes to Senate Appropriations Committee
HB 1593, the education funding bill, has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where there is a possibility that it could be amended to reduce K-12 funding to the lower level proposed last week by Lt. Governor Tate Reeves. His K-12 budget plan for FY2013 provides almost $10-million below the funding level provided in the House bill.
Call your senator and members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and ask them to oppose any move to decrease the funding in HB 1593. Capitol Switchboard: 601-359-3770. See contact information for committee members here.
House Passes K-12 Funding Bill
This afternoon, the House passed HB 1593, the school funding bill, on a vote of 114 - 7. See the vote here.
The bill appropriates slightly more money for MAEP in the 2012-2013 school year over the current year. Of the $27-million increase to MAEP, $23-million is designated to cover the increased cost of retirement for teachers. The bill also allocates an additional $4-million to classroom supply funds and fully funds both the National Board Certification program and the Chickasaw Cession payments. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Click here to see summaries of legislative action on The Parents' Campaign's priority bills.
House to Debate K-12 Funding Bill
House Appropriations Committee Approves School Funding Bill
This morning, the House Appropriations Committee approved a school funding bill for 2012-2013 that provides a slight increase in MAEP funding over the current year. The bill provides for a $23-million increase to cover the cost of retirement as well as an additional $3.7-million undesignated increase in the MAEP. Teacher supply funds are increased by $4-million over the current school year, and the National Board Certification program and the Chickasaw Cession are fully funded. We are grateful to House Appropriations Chair Herb Frierson and his committee for crafting a K-12 budget that begins to move school funding in a positive direction.
Joint Legislative Budget Committee Adopts New Revenue Estimate
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee has adopted a revised revenue estimate for both the current fiscal year (FY2012) and the next fiscal year (FY2013). The new estimate for the current year was increased by $99-million to $4,761,500,000. The revised estimate for the next fiscal year (FY13) was increased by $128.6-million to $4,759,900,000. This means that there will be an additional $128.6-million available to appropriate when legislators take up funding bills this week. The expectation is that the education funding bill will be taken up in the House Appropriations Committee this week and will be debated on the House floor next week. With revenue increasing, we are hopeful that legislators will begin working to close the gap between the massive underfunding of the MAEP and the adequate (full) funding that the law requires and that Mississippi children deserve.
House Charter School Bill Dies
posted 3/15/2012 8:20 p.m.
The House and Senate adjourned, allowing a few bills to die on the calendar. Among the dead bills is HB 888, the House version of the charter school bill. The House will now have an opportunity to consider the Senate's charter bill, SB 2401. The House Education Committee will have until April 3 to act on that and other Senate bills if they are to keep them alive. Click here to see summaries of all actions on The Parents' Campaign's priority bills.
Senate Passes School Accreditation Bill
SB 2737 was passed by the Senate this afternoon. The bill allows school district accreditation to be withdrawn without a probationary period and lets students transfer to an accredited district. See the vote here. With a midnight deadline, the House continues to work through its calendar of bills. There has been no action on the charter school bill. You can find information on all of the bills being tracked by The Parents' Campaign here.
House Passes School Accreditation and Shared Services Bills
Still No Action on Charter Bill
The House passed two significant bills this morning.
HB 1207 allows school district accreditation to be withdrawn without a probationary period and lets students transfer to an accredited district. See the vote here. HB 838 authorizes a pilot program of shared services among multiple school districts within the same county. See vote here.
The House has begun working from a supplemental calendar of 15 priority bills, which does not include HB 888, the charter school bill. Watch here for updates throughout the afternoon and evening.
House Charter Bill Updates:
At 12:40 a.m., the House of Representatives recessed until 9:00 a.m., at which time it will resume debate on its bills. The House charter school bill will have to be taken up before midnight tonight, or it will die on the calendar.
The House passed the UPSTART virtual preschool bill with almost no debate. See the vote here. TPC's position was to vote no. The House is currently taking up additional education bills, but the charter bill has not yet come up for debate.
The House is currently debating the 17th bill out of over 100 bills on its calendar for the day.
No education bills have been taken up thus far today.
The House continues to work slowly down its calendar; the charter school bill has not yet come up for debate; there has been no House action on any education bill today. We will post a notice and link to the live webcast as soon as the House begins debating the bill. If you would like to receive a notification by text message and have not already signed up for that service, email your name and cell phone number to email@example.com.
So far today, there has been no action on House education bills. We are waiting for HB 888, the charter school bill, to come up for debate, but that may not happen until later this evening. Watch here for updates - we will post a notice and link to the live webcast as soon as the House begins debating the bill.
Senate Passes Important Bills
Appointed Superintendents and Dual Enrollment Pilot Program
posted 3/13/2012, 3:30 p.m.; updated 10:20 p.m.
The Senate has passed two important bills.
SB 2313 requires that Mississippi move to appointed superintendents in every school district by the year 2016. The Parents' Campaign's position on this bill is to vote yes. See the vote here.
SB 2792 creates a pilot program in five school districts that allows students to be dually enrolled in high school and community college in a dual credit program consisting of high school completion courses and a work skills certificate program. The Parents' Campaign's position on this bill is to vote yes. See the vote here.
You can find additional information on these and other bills on our Bill Status page.
We are grateful to the Senate for their support of this legislation.
The House adjourned for the evening after 10:00 p.m. without acting on any of the bills we are tracking. We expect the charter school bill to come up for debate early tomorrow, and we will email and text our members and post that notification on our website as soon as the bill is brought up. You can watch that debate live online at http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/ls_webcast.htm.
House and Senate Adjourn for the Weekend
The House and Senate have adjourned for the weekend. The House has not yet taken up its version of the charter school bill.
Our positions on the current forms of the following bills are:
HB 838 - Shared services bill. Vote yes.
HB 864 - Dual enrollment pilot program. Vote yes. Passed the House.
HB 888 - Charter school bill. Amend. See amendments.
HB 1101 - UPSTART online preschool program. Vote no. See why.
HB 1207 - Allows school district accreditation to be withdrawn without a probationary period, allows parents to request legal transfer of student to an accredited district with money to follow the child, allows district to be abolished when State of Emergency is declared repeatedly. Vote yes.
SB 2313 - Appointed superintendents. Vote yes. See why.
SB 2401 - Charter school bill. Vote no. Passed the Senate without amendments.
SB 2737 - Allows school district accreditation to be withdrawn without a probationary period, allows parents to request legal transfer of student to an accredited district with money to follow the child, allows district to be abolished when State of Emergency is declared repeatedly. Vote yes.
SB 2792 - Dual enrollment pilot program. Vote yes.
Get more information on these bills here.
No Debate Yet on House Charter Bill
The House and Senate worked down their calendars today. The House moved relatively few bills off of its calendar, while the Senate took up almost a third of its bills. If the House continues at this pace, the charter school bill should not come up until next week. However, the pace could pick up tomorrow. If the charter school bill is taken up, our members will immediately be notified by email so that they can watch the debate live via the Internet if they wish. Both chambers will convene tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Continue to watch this site for updates.
House and Senate Complete Committee Work
Have Nine Days to Move Bills Forward
The House and Senate have completed their committee work on the bills that originated within their respective chambers. They now have until March 15, next Thursday, to pass bills off of the floor calendar. The Speaker has indicated that the House will move in order down its calendar, and HB 888, the House charter school bill, is currently listed at number 121. That would indicate that it might be a few days before it comes up for debate. However, it is possible that bills could be skipped and that the charter school bill could come up as early as tomorrow.
HB 888 needs to be amended significantly if it is to 1) provide children trapped in underperforming schools with a better education option, 2) improve student achievement, and 3) provide a good return on investment for taxpayer dollars. Please continue to talk with your representatives about this bill. Ask that they support amendments to:
Capitol Switchboard: 601-359-3770
- Restrict charter schools to underperforming school zones
- Prohibit virtual charter schools Learn more
- Establish the State Board of Education as the single authorizer or the State Board of Education and another statewide entity to serve as authorizers (providing multiple authorizers allows weak applicants to "shop" for the most permissive authorizer; authorizers grant charters and oversee the work of charter schools)
- Prohibit for-profit companies from running charter schools (they cut corners to increase profits)
Speaker's Office: 601-359-3300
House Adjourns for Weekend, No Action on Charter Bill
The House of Representatives adjourned for the weekend today without taking up the charter school bill. Legislators are working toward a Tuesday deadline to get bills passed out of committee. Bills not taken up in committee by Tuesday will die on the calendar. We do not expect the charter bill to be debated on the House floor until the Tuesday deadline has passed. This gives you more time to discuss the charter school bill with your legislators. Keep those calls going! Ask your representative to amend House Bill 888 to limit charter schools to underperforming school zones, to prohibit virtual charter schools, to establish the State Board of Education as the only authorizer, and to require that charter schools and the management organizations be non-profit. Click here to find the legislators who represent your school district.
House Does Not Take Up Charter School Bill on Thursday
Legislators Report that Constituents Want Charters Limited
The House of Representatives did not take up the charter school bill on Thursday. Legislators report that they are being inundated with calls from constituents who oppose allowing charter schools in successful school zones. The overwhelming majority of Mississippians believe in a more conservative charter school bill that will focus charter schools where they are needed and avoid the costs of creating new school districts where we already have good public schools. Watch this site for updates.
House Education Committee Barely Passes Charter School Bill
The House Education Committee passed an amended version of that chamber's charter school bill on a 14 to 12 vote. A number of amendments were offered, some good, one bad.
Read about it here.
The bill will likely go to the House floor for a vote tomorrow (Thursday) at 2:00 p.m.
Ask your representative to amend the bill to prohibit virtual charter schools or vote no on the bill.
Capitol Switchboard: 601-359-3770
Speaker's Office: 601-359-3300
House Education Committee Meeting Postponed Until Later Today
The House Education Committee met briefly at 1 p.m. today, but recessed without taking up HB 888, the charter school bill (due to a printing malfunction in preparing copies of the bill for committee members). They will reconvene at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon. Watch for updates later this evening.
Charter School Bill Goes to House
Please Call Your Representative
The House of Representatives is expected to take up its version of the charter school bill this week. Both House versions of the bill, HB 888 and HB 1102, need improvements. We have been told that the House Education charter schools subcommittee will take up HB 888 this afternoon. This bill needs amendments to restrict charters to chronically underperforming school zones, prohibit virtual charter schools, require that charter management organizations have a proven track record of success, and ensure that for-profit companies cannot run charter schools in Mississippi.
Call House Speaker Philip Gunn and your representative and ask them to make these critical changes to the bill before it goes to the House floor for a vote on Thursday.
Speaker of the House Philip Gunn 601.359.3300
House Switchboard 601.359.3770
Senate Passes Charter School Bill
This afternoon, the Senate passed its version of the charter school bill on a vote of 34-17. See that vote here. There are some good things about this bill, but there are some areas that need significant changes if this legislation is to help improve student achievement in Mississippi. Senator John Horhn offered an amendment to focus charter schools only in districts rated below Academic Watch. This was a step in the right direction, and our position on that amendment was to vote "yea." It was defeated with 19 yeas and 32 nays. See that vote here. The bill in its current form would do more harm than good, so our position on the final passage vote was to vote "nay."
The House now will consider charter school legislation, either SB2401 or its own version of a charter school bill. We need the House to make several improvements, including limiting charters to underperforming school zones, requiring charter operators to have a proven track record of success, and ensuring that for-profit companies cannot run charter schools. We will monitor action in the House to ensure that their charter school legislation prohibits virtual charter schools (as SB2401 does).
Senate Ed Committee Amends Charter School Bill to Prohibit Virtual Charters
This morning, the Senate Education Committee passed the charter school bill, SB2401, with an amendment to prohibit virtual charter schools in Mississippi.
We need one more amendment to make this bill work.
Please ask your senator to support an amendment to limit charter schools to the attendance zones of underperforming schools (schools rated below successful on the state accountability system). We support a "no" vote on the bill if it is not amended.
Children in any unsuccessful school should have a charter school option - including those whose unsuccessful schools are in school districts that are rated successful. The bill could be taken up as early as tomorrow. Please call your senator today.
Senate switchboard: 601-359-3770
See The Parents' Campaign's position on charter schools here.
Charter School Bill Introduced, Needs Work
Please Call Your Senator
SB2401, the charter school bill most likely to be taken up in the Senate, will likely come up for a committee vote on Tuesday. The bill needs work to make sure that it moves Mississippi forward, not backward. We need to get the bill amended to provide good options for kids who are trapped in underperforming schools without wasting state tax dollars putting more schools where we already have good ones. Call your senator and Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and tell them to:
- Restrict charter schools to underperforming school zones
- Prohibit virtual charter schools Learn more
- Require that charter managers have a track record of success
- Prohibit for-profit companies from running charters (they cut corners to increase profits)
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves: 601.359.3200
Click here to find the senators who represent your school district.
Proposed Change to House Rules Could Affect Education Funding
The House of Representatives could consider today a change to House rules that could have serious implications for K-12 funding. Read more here.
You can watch the House session live at 4:00 p.m. today at
State leaders have warned of further underfunding of public schools - and now they are pushing to use those same scarce dollars to add more schools - more administration, more buildings, more overhead - where we already have excellent public schools.
The Parents' Campaign supports charter schools in areas where children are trapped in chronically underperforming schools. Top-tier charters with a good track record can provide these children with a good public school option - something they deserve. This is where any additional school investment should be made. Unfortunately, some want to waste taxpayer dollars adding schools where kids already have good choices.
To make matters worse, some are proposing to allow virtual charter schools. This unbelievable boondoggle has become a nightmare in other states, allowing unseemly for-profit businesses to rake in hordes of state funding while diminishing student achievement.
Read more about that here.
The governor has said that he expects the charter school legislation to come up this week.
Call your senator and Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and tell them to:
Restrict charter schools to underperforming school zones
Make the State Board of Education the only authorizer Read why
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves 601.359.3200
Capitol Switchboard 601.359.3770
Lt. Governor Announces Legislative Priorities
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves has announced his legislative priorities for the 2012 Legislative Session. He lists five priorities: transparency and accountability, improving educational outcomes, optimizing state services, returning to fiscal responsibility, and protecting our families.
In regard to improving educational outcomes, Gov. Reeves has cited two major initiatives:
broad flexibility to establish charter schools if the entity has a track record of success with funding following the child, and the consolidation of the three school districts in Sunflower County: Drew, Indianola, and Sunflower County.
Click on the links below to see The Parents' Campaign's position on:
Governor Bryant Recommends Lower MAEP Funding
Governor Bryant has announced his FY13 Executive Budget Recommendation, which provides more funding for Teach for America and high growth districts but cuts other MAEP funding by $72.9-million. Read more.
Speaker Gunn Names House Committees
Earlier today, House Speaker Philip Gunn announced House of Representatives committee chairs and members. Representative John Moore of Brandon was named chair of the House Education Committee, and Representative Alyce Clarke of Jackson was named vice chair. Representative Herb Frierson of Poplarville was named House Appropriations Committee chair, and Representative Mac Huddleston of Pontotoc was named vice chair. To see the full membership of the House Education Committee, click here. To see the full House Appropriations Committee, click here. Our goal is to work with these leaders to advance legislation that will help ensure excellent schools for all Mississippi children.
Lt. Governor Reeves Names Senate Committees
This morning, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves announced Senate committee chairs and members. Senator Gray Tollison of Oxford was named chair of the Education Committee, and Senator Nancy Collins of Tupelo was named vice chair. Senator Buck Clarke of Hollandale was named Appropriations Committee chair, and Senator Terry Burton of Newton was named vice chair. To see the full membership of the Senate Education Committee, click here. To see the full Senate Appropriations Committee, click here. We are looking forward to working with these leaders to build a stronger public education system.
Speaker Gunn is in the process of assigning House committee members and chairs, and we will post those on this site as soon as they are announced.
2012 Legislature Convenes
Gunn Elected Speaker
The 2012 Legislative Session convened at noon today. Philip Gunn was elected and sworn in as Speaker of the House, and incoming Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves will be sworn in on Thursday to preside over the Senate. Gunn and Reeves will appoint committee chairs and members and assign bills to committees in their respective chambers. We will post committee assignments on this website as soon as they are available. Also watch this site for updates on important education legislation and votes.
2012 Legislature to Convene Tuesday, January 3
The 2012 Legislative Session will convene at noon on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. On that day, legislators will be sworn in and the House of Representatives will elect its Speaker. The legislative staff is in the process of assigning email addresses and posting contact information for all new legislators, and we will make that information available on our website as soon as it is finalized. As always, we will keep our members in the know about legislation that affects public schools and how their legislators vote on pertinent education bills. If you would like to receive email updates about your legislators' education votes and have not already signed up, click here to get on our emailing list. Click here to see archived postings from 2011. |