College Savings Mississippi 2018 Art Contest Winners
This year, College Savings Mississippi sponsored its fifth annual art contest, offering over $4,000 in MACS (Mississippi Affordable College Savings) scholarships as prizes. We received over 1,300 entries, making it our most successful art contest yet. 

I am so pleased to announce this year’s winners:

Pre-K – 2 nd Grade
1 st Place: Sawyer Robinson, 2 nd Grade, Union Elementary 
2 nd Place: Marley’ Rose Martin, Kindergarten, Galloway Elementary
3 rd Place: Cecilia Duhon, 1 st Grade, Benedict Day School

3 rd – 5 th Grade
1 st Place: Bailee Jones, 4 th Grade, Union Elementary
2 nd Place: Chloe Cooper, 5 th Grade, Union Middle
3 rd Place: LaCee Bishop, 5 th Grade, Union Middle

6 th – 8 th Grade
1 st Place: Bella Jeter, 7 th Grade, New Albany Middle
2 nd Place: Jaslyn Moy, 7 th Grade, Germantown Middle
3 rd Place: Aubri Sparkman, 6 th Grade, Homeschool

9 th – 12 th Grade
1 st Place: Yu Hyun Jaca Oh, 12 th Grade, Cedar Lake Christian Academy
2 nd Place: Ashley Thurman, 10 th Grade, Forest Hill High School
3 rd Place: Reggi Pech, 12 th Grade, Clarkdale High School

All four first place winners will receive $529 in MACS scholarships. The second place winners will receive $250 scholarships and the third place winners will receive $100 scholarships. We asked them to depict their hopes and dreams for their future in their artwork. These prizes will help them reach those goals through education.

In addition, we gave a MACS scholarship to the teacher with the most entries to be awarded as she sees fit. This year, that prize goes to Christy Bievenour, an art teacher at Woolmarket Elementary with 95 entries. I am so grateful to Ms. Bievenour and all the Mississippi teachers who inspire our children daily to fulfill their dreams.

I want to thank our four guest judges who had the difficult task of reviewing all the great artwork submitted this year: Limeul Eubanks, Ricky Nobile, Charlotte Smelser, and Herbert Mays. Eubanks works in the Arts and World Languages office at the Mississippi Department of Education. Nobile is a cartoonist and caricature artist whose works you may have seen in the Mississippi Business Journal and many Mississippi newspapers. Smelser is the Arts Education Director at the Mississippi Arts Commission. Mays is a professional portrait painter. 

The quality of the artwork was tremendous and made for some difficult judging. All our participants should be very proud of their entries.
April is National Financial Literacy Month
Each year, April is designated as Financial Literacy Month. Financial education is a critical life skill, the essential building block for all that we do in life, regardless of our profession or our paycheck. Knowing how to save and invest, borrow and even spend wisely helps us achieve all our goals.

As you know, I started a public-private partnership just over three years ago to bring financial education into our schools. TEAM, or Treasurer’s Education About Money, gives Mississippi teachers free access to teacher training and online educational resources through the nationally-recognized EverFi.

In just three years, we’ve already reached over 66,000 students with over 255,000 learning hours in personal finance. TEAM has been in over 350 schools in nearly every county of the State. What’s more, we’ve trained more than 1,200 teachers to on how to teach financial education, whether as a stand-alone class or as a part of other lessons. And, those teachers can reach countless students for years to come.

I have put two EverFi modules on my website free for use by anyone who wants to improve their own personal finance skills and I encourage you to use them. One is on general financial literacy and the other on 529 educational savings plans, like MACS and MPACT . Take a moment now to test your personal finance knowledge and share the links with people you love to help them succeed in reaching their goals.
Legislature Approves New Investment Option for the State
I am so pleased that the Mississippi Legislature has approved a new option for investing State funds, Israel bonds, and that Governor Bryant has signed this bill (SB 2051) into law.

Each year, my office is charged with investing about $5 billion in State funds. We have three primary goals in these investments:

1)     Supporting our local banks,
2)     Managing the State’s cash flow to ensure all bills are paid in a timely manner, and
3)     Generating returns for the State.

We achieve these first two objectives largely through placing short-term offerings in Mississippi banks. These CDs, of 1-year or shorter duration, help us to protect the public trust while making sure the State has the necessary funds to pay all our bills when due.

We also try to generate some investment returns for Mississippi taxpayers. In Fiscal Year 2017, we made $34,536,175 for the State on our investments. Until this new law, we were restricted almost entirely to Treasury bonds, which generate very low returns.
 
Under SB 2051, however, we will be able to invest up to $20 million in Israel bonds, which are highly rated and low risk, but offer greater returns than Treasury bonds. That’s why 28 other states, and our own Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), already invest in Israel Bonds. I’m pleased at the prospect for doing even more for Mississippi taxpayers with this new law in place.
Office of the Mississippi State Treasurer
Post Office Box 138
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
P: 601.359.3600 / F: 601.359.2001