The Mississippi Senate took final action Friday on legislation ensuring teachers receive classroom supply cards before school begins each year and creating a revolving loan fund for public school buildings. Senate Bills 2422 and 2430, respectively, next head to the Governor for consideration.
“Teachers have shared with me and our senators that they receive classroom supply money late in the semester, which hinders their ability to plan and purchase what they need for instruction before school begins,” Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said. “We included deadlines in this bill to prevent this from happening in the future.”
Authored by Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar, Senate Bill 2422 provides classroom supply fund cards to be issued to teachers, including full and part-time gifted and special education teachers, no later than August 1 each year. The legislation provides that the cards will not expire before April 1, which will allow teachers to use the cards throughout the school year.
Senate Bill 2430, also authored by Chairman DeBar, creates a revolving no-interest loan program for public school buildings. Emergency and critical infrastructure needs will receive priority. Through the program, public schools may receive up to $1 million in one fiscal year for maintenance on existing buildings, excluding athletics, or construction of new pre-K or career and technical facilities.
The bill has a one-year repealer in it which will allow lawmakers to revisit the program next year to implement any tweaks 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 bond issue process or using other funds intended for instruction or programming,” Hosemann said.
The timing of classroom supply cards and lack of funds for public school buildings were among issues discussed at teacher listening sessions held by the Chairman DeBar in the fall before the 2022 Legislative Session.