JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) – The Mississippi Senate took final action on legislation Friday, April 1 to ensure teachers receive school supply cards before school starts each year and create a revolving loan fund for buildings public schools. Senate Bills 2422 and 2430, respectively, will then go to the governor for consideration.
“Teachers have shared with me and our senators that they receive money for school supplies late in the semester, which hampers their ability to plan and purchase what they need for instruction before the start of school,” Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann said. “We have included time limits in this bill to prevent this from happening again in the future.”
Drafted by Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar, Senate Bill 2422 provides that school supply fund cards be issued to teachers, including gifted full-time and part-time teachers and in special education, no later than August 1 of each year. The legislation provides that the cards will not expire until April 1, allowing teachers to use the cards throughout the school year.
Senate Bill 2430, also drafted by President DeBar, creates an interest-free revolving loan program for public school buildings. Emergency and critical infrastructure needs will be given priority. Through this program, public schools can receive up to $1 million in a fiscal year for the maintenance of existing buildings, excluding athletics, or the construction of new pre-K facilities or professional and technical.
The bill contains a one-year repeal clause that will allow lawmakers to review the program next year to implement changes recommended by educators.
“This fund is intended to help school districts put a new roof on a leaky building without having to go through the process of issuing bonds or using other funds earmarked for education or programming.” , Hosemann said.
The timing of school supply cards and the lack of funding for public school buildings were among the issues discussed during teacher listening sessions hosted by Speaker DeBar in the fall ahead of the 2022 legislative session.