To the Senate Education Committee: Please vote no on HB 957, as it grossly underfunds public education in Mississippi.
House Bill 957 would provide the lowest average annual increase in school funding since before MAEP went into effect. During the Barbour administration, the average annual increase in funding per student was $86.77. In the past six years, the Legislature has increased funding per student, on average, by $64.58 per year. HB 957 would provide an average annual increase per student of only $32 for the next seven years, and it provides for no increase at all after full implementation in 2025.
At full implementation in 2025, HB 957 would provide our Hancock County schools where I live with $2.7 million less than the current requirement. Overall, the state would be shortchanging our children’s future by $292 million each and every year compared to current funding.
Mississippi children deserve better!
Mississippi will continue to be ranked last (or among the last) in education and last in per capita income, and continue to lose our “Best & Brightest” to other states until you undertake serious educational reform. HB 957 is a dodge of that responsibility.
And, if we are going to fund education properly, it is going to take creating a lottery with proceeds mostly or fully dedicated to public education, resisting school voucher efforts, raising income tax rates on the wealthy and some corporations, and probably consolidating some school districts to improve educational opportunities for everyone.
Bay St Louis