Despite promises made just last week that National Board Certification funding was safe, Governor Barbour cut NBC by 8.193%, or $1.9 million,. These cuts will have to be made between now and the end of fiscal year 2010. It is unknown how local school districts will choose to absorb all of the cuts recommended by Governor Barbour.
However, there is good news. The House is actively working to restore the Governor’s budget cuts. In addition, we have received information that over 95% of the legislators believe that NBC funding is a high priority in the current budget. Last week, calls from constituents throughout the state helped successfully defeat SB 2402, which would have removed the NBC supplement from anyone who enrolled in a graduate or master teacher program after July 2010. We have successfully worked with legislators, and can do so again.
It is again time for action! Please contact your legislators asking them to restore Governor Barbour’s cuts to education and NBC funding. Be sure to also thank them for their support on these issues, as they continue to show enduring support for education. MSHA is sponsoring a Legislative Breakfast, Thursday, January 28, 2010. If possible make contact with legislators prior to this date so that Executive Board members can follow-up and receive feedback during this face to face meeting.
To find contact information for members of the House, click here: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/members/h_roster.pdf.
For members of the Senate, click here: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/members/s_roster.pdf.
Here are some talking points for contacting legislators:
1) Most school districts cannot absorb the cost of maintaining the salary supplement for master teachers.
2) Many districts across the state currently cannot find CCC qualified speech-language pathologists, and the possibility of losing the salary supplement would make it much worse.
3) The loss of this salary supplement will cause the loss of highly trained professionals in the public schools as they move to the private sector for better pay. This would only add to the current shortage of highly qualified providers in schools.
4) Annual earnings reports reflect an approximately $20,000 difference in pay for speech-language pathologists employed in a skilled nursing facility and those working the public schools. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of speech-language pathologists:
Nursing care facilities $70,180
Offices of other health practitioners 63,240
General medical and surgical hospitals 61,970
Elementary and secondary schools 53,110
5) Ultimately, districts may have to contract with private speech-language pathologists, resulting in less cost effective measures than employing a speech language pathologist full time.
6) The loss of the salary supplement would cause the most harm to the students that are served by highly qualified providers. With Mississippi ranking at the bottom of the nation in education, we cannot afford to remove the salary supplement and potentially lose highly qualified providers of education. Currently there are 800 speech language pathologists licensed through MDE, of those 670 meet national certification requirements.