The sixth week of the 2021 Mississippi legislative session continued with bills being presented on both the House and Senate floors. Each chamber was hard at work in an effort to consider all important bills by Thursday, February 11. Any bill not passed by its chamber before this deadline, died on the calendar. Below is a list of a few bills that survived this week’s deadline:
SB 2001 and HB 852 provide pay raises for teachers and assistant teachers across the state. Both bills increase the starting pay for licensed teachers with 0-2 years of experience to $37,000 and provide a $1,000 pay increase for all other teachers. These bills differ in the amount provided to assistant teachers. SB 2001 provides a $1,000 pay increase for assistant teachers, while HB 852 provides a $1,100 pay increase.
SB 2305 and HB 1179 create the William F. Winter and Jack Reed, Sr., Teacher Loan Repayment Program. This program is designed to address the teacher shortage in the state by consolidating multiple unfunded repayment programs into one fully funded repayment program. This would be a three year commitment that would incentivize new teachers to remain in Mississippi to teach in order to help repay their student loans.
SB 2149 would require the Mississippi Department of Education to hold school districts harmless when calculating average daily attendance for the 2020-2021 scholastic year. District’s average daily attendance for the 2019-2020 scholastic year will be used in place of the 2020-2021 scholastic year unless the ADA for this previous year was higher.
SB 2267 would allow teachers from out-of-state and in good standing to attain reciprocity to teach in Mississippi. The bill was amended to require a two week processing time limit and to remove the requirement that MDE perform a background check on the applicant since a check is done at the district level.
Each of these bills will now head to the other chamber for consideration.