Home - Breaking News, Events, Things-To-Do, Dining, Nightlife


Lawmakers Push Public-Education Funds For Private Schools With Governor’s Support

Using public-education dollars to pay for private school tuition is again at the center of a debate in the Mississippi Legislature as lawmakers push new “school choice” legislation—with vocal support from the governor.

“We must be innovative. We must be open to new and different models,” Gov. Tate Reeves said during his annual State of the State Address on Monday, Feb. 26. “We should fund students, not systems. We should trust our parents, not bureaucrats. And we should embrace education freedom.”

House Education Committee Chairman Rob Roberson, R-Starkville, authored House Bill 1449, known as “The Mississippi Student Freedom Act.” The bill would create “Magnolia Scholarship Accounts” providing funds for students to attend a nonpublic school. The program is designed to be phased in over five years. Beginning in the 2025-2026 school year, program participation would be limited to a maximum of 1.5% of the number equal to the 2022-2023 total public school student enrollment. The bill would increase that percentage by 1.5% each year.

For the 2025-2026 school year, students of Mississippi residents would be qualified if they were eligible to enroll in kindergarten, were enrolled in the public school system or an Educational Scholarship Accounts program the previous year, and met the eligibility criteria for Medicaid of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The next year, any child who would be eligible to enroll in public school could participate.

Each quarter, an amount not to exceed 25% of the state per-pupil funding average would be deposited into the students’ accounts. An included provision would allow for more than the allotted 25% to be deposited during the first quarter of the school year for curriculum, textbooks and other educational expenses.

The bill would require students to take an annual standardized test. However, the responsibility would lie with parents or guardians to ensure testing is done and submitted to the Department of Education within the required time frame.

Voucher Debate Dates Back to Segregation

School vouchers have long been a contentious issue in the state. Faced with being forced to comply with court-ordered school integration, segregationists in the 1960s and 1970s began

Read original article by clicking here.

Local Dining Stream

Things To Do

Related articles