The legislature adjourned March 27, and will return to session April 20. Below is an update on education related bills that have been passed or are still in conference.
HB 1170 (furloughs and shorter school year): The conference report bill sent to the Governor did not allow for a reduced number of instructional days during the school year. However, it did include language that a district “shall” furlough all employees during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years. Districts will have the flexibility in deciding whether or not it will furlough employees due to its fiscal situation. Employees will not be paid for furlough days, but will be credited with an additional ½ day personal leave for each day furloughed. However, any personal leave allowed for a furlough shall not be carried over into the next school year.
SB 2293 (Charter Schools): When a school is classified as failing for 2 or more consecutive years, the school will come under the Mississippi Recovery School District, and be classified as a new start school. The school board of the local school district will have the opportunity to appeal the State Board of Education for another year before the school must be transformed. The performance of employees in a new start school will be evaluated by the State Department of Education, and any employee that receives an unsatisfactory evaluation will be terminated. Upon completion of an improvement plan, a teacher may be reemployed at another location in the school district, or by the new start school subject to the approval of the deputy superintendent responsible for the Mississippi Recovery School District.
SB 2744 (assess active state employees a portion of premium under health plan): A conference report adopted by the House and Senate provides that the Health Insurance Management Board may assess active state employees $20 per month for health insurance. This will allow them to offer a $1000 deductible. If an employee elects not to pay $20, the deductible will be $1800.
– Rachel Powell, VP: School Issues