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Mississippi lawmakers react to special session on ed funding rewrite

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While the Governor has said that he would not call a special session to go over the education funding re-write unless the House and Senate leaders called for it others are weighing the possibility of a special session to see if any headway would be made on the bill.

“I think it would be very unwise at this point,” said Rep. Steve Holland. “If the current leadership is really serious about this new formula they need to give it some time and give it some buy-in.”

Holland said that if a special session is called it would most likely be in late June. He added that the Republican leadership would need to count votes beforehand to ensure that the measure would pass.

“There is no sense in calling a special session that would fail,” Holland said.

While Holland said he believes the climate is more adverse to the Republican’s funding re-write plan he said it could be remedied by taking time to look at all of the details in the bill.

“These people have to learn that they have got to give parents, even students, administrators, teachers, and the greater community some grassroots buy-in to this program and they might get it passed.” Holland said.  “It’s got some good parts to it.”

Holland added that while the proposed formula is easier to understand and breakdown than the previous MAEP formula, he said simplicity for the sake of simplicity is not the way to go.

Senate Education Chairman Gray Tollison said that he does not foresee the legislation going to a special session.

“We just need to re-group and do a better job of selling it to the member of the Senate,” Tollison said. “It passed the House and I think in the end, if you want to increase funding for education adopting the formula will be the way to go.”

Tollison said that many of the flaws in the existing formula are remedied by the proposed legislation.

“People say that it makes sense and we should adopt it,…” Tollison said. “For whatever reason, they are objecting to it.”

Both Holland and Tollison said that ultimately the education funding bill that gets passed should have a clause in it saying that it should be revisited every few years, similar to the Medicaid tech bill’s sunset clause so that careful examination of education funding would take place each time.

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