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Mississippians to foot the bill if education isn’t discussed in session

Funding for public education is one of the top topics hanging over your lawmakers’ heads this session, and if it isn’t brought up soon, taxpayers will be footing the bill to bring it up later.

Currently, there’s still no word as to how the Mississippi Adequate Education Program Formula will be changed. The bills that would have brought up MAEP in the Senate died on the floor from inactivity last week. 

But if action isn’t taken soon, it will be costly.

Senator Grey Tollison spoke with News Mississippi about the possibility of a special session.

“The Governor could call a special session within the session between now and the end of March,” said Tollison. “Or he could call a special session any time after, and bring us back here.”

The bills that died Thursday would have brought up the recommendations made by EdBuild on how to improve funding for public schools. Senator Tollison said that lawmakers just weren’t comfortable moving forward until they had a better outline of how any changes would impact individual school districts.

While it is not impossible for another bill regarding MAEP to be drawn up, the likelihood of a special session is increasing, and it could be costly.

According to Laura Hipp, Communications Director for Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, a special session could cost as much as $70,312, covering a $140 per day per diem and $75 round trip travel costs for the lawmakers.

Any day outside of that first day could cost as much as $48,107.

However, these costs are not just for a special session taking place after the regular session has ended.

“They do get special session pay during the regular (session),” said Hipp.

During the regular session, special session pay is $75 per person.

Special session pay for lawmakers during the regular session has been debated before. According to Senator Tollison, Senate Bill 2162 was drafted during the 2011 legislative session.

The bill read: “legislators shall not be entitled to additional compensation for any extraordinary session which is held while the Legislature is convened in regular session.”

The bill passed the Senate in 2011, but died in House committee, never making it to the floor.

News Mississippi will continue to follow the MAEP recommendations and any changes made in the legislative session.

 

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