Dear MAE Members,

Once again, Legislative leadership is trying to pull a fast one, and our public schools need YOUR help!

House Bill 957, the so-called “new funding formula” for our public schools is up for a vote on Tuesday, February 27, at 11:00 a.m. in the Senate Education Committee meeting.

House Bill 957 was one of the FIRST measures passed by the House this session — after very little discussion or vetting of the plan. It went to the Senate where two public hearings were held on it last week. The members felt they were given the opportunity to express concerns and ask questions.

BUT, after close of business on Friday, the Senate Education Chair submitted a substitute bill that the members will be expected to vote on Tuesday. There has been very little chance to look at the details of the “new” HB957. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS IT.

House member Jay Hughes of Oxford posted the following alarming analyses of the changes in the measure:

The REALITIES of the NEW HB957 from the Senate are detailed here for EDUCATORS & ADMINISTRATORS:

1. The BASE STUDENT COSTS of $4800 and $6240 are too LOW, and lower than current underfunding. The current expenditure per child in many districts is over $10,000. The best private schools in the state charge anywhere from $15,000-$18,000 per child per year (I have letters from them to leadership who have their children in them). With this bill, an increasing percentage of school budget will come from LOCAL sources by either RAISING TAXES or cutting services and programs.

2. HUGE DIFFERENCE ABOUT Funding for SENIORS goes to $ZERO$. The Senate version terminates all payments for a student once they have met qualifications for graduation, which many do at the end of 11th grade, or are attending programs after having dropped out.

3. POVERTY calculations are completely flawed and will hurt POOR districts the most. That is even noted on the census bureau’s website. An example is that It says that the Oxford School District’s low socio-economic percentage is around 20%. That is just FALSE. The real poverty numbers for OSD are more than double the amount that is listed. Taking an average from the last three years that are listed is not current and it is not an improvement.

4. SPORTS: For seniors who have already met their graduation requirements, they would actually have to pay to play a sport in their senior year.

5. VOCATIONAL & TECHNICAL: Completely missing as a program that shall be funded.

6. STEM: Completely Missing as a program that shall be funded!

7. ICT: Completely Missing as a program that shall be funded!

8. TEACHER & Teacher Assistant PAY RAISES: Completely Missing!

Please take a minute to contact your Senator TODAY! Click HERE to find your Senator,then Click HERE to access contact information. Be sure to check FACEBOOK for official Senator accounts. You can message them there, too.

We’ll be at the Capitol on Tuesday morning monitoring the Committee meeting. Check our Twitter and Facebook feeds for up-to-date information on its outcome.

Let’s do this!

MAE Government Relations Director