FY 21 Budget Recommendation Released: The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) released its Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Recommendation last week. The proposed budget would appropriate almost $94 million less than the current Fiscal Year 2020 budget and leaves almost $1.3 billion in reserves. While the recommendation cuts General Education (MDE operations and programs) by $64 million, it provides an additional $76 million for the MAEP. This is due in large part to this year’s pay raise being funded via the General Education budget, but that funding will be shifted to the MAEP. The budget recommendation provides an additional $18.4 million to fully fund the teacher pay raise which was not initially fully funded due to MDE miscalculations.
Legislative Leadership Selected: The Republican Caucus of the Mississippi House met last month and decided to support Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton to continue to serve as Speaker for the upcoming four-year term. The caucus also lent its support for Rep. Jason White of West to serve as the next speaker pro tem. White has served in the legislature since 2012 and currently serves as chairman of the House Rules Committee. House members will officially elect these positions on January 7, the opening day of the 2020 Mississippi Legislative Session.
Lt. Governor-elect Delbert Hosemann confirmed earlier this month that Senator Dean Kirby of Pearl is expected to be elected as president pro tem of the Mississippi Senate. The Senate president pro tem is the No. 2 leadership position in the Senate. Kirby has served in the legislature since 1992 and currently chairs the Public Health and Welfare Committee. He has a strong record of support for public education.
Gunn to Chair ALEC: Speaker Philip Gunn is the new national chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). School choice and vouchers are among the educational issues supported by the organization, which has been funded in large part by the Koch family in its support of the privatization of public education. Gunn was named ALEC’s new national chairman at the organization’s policy summit in Arizona earlier this month.