HB 817. Increased the minimum per-pupil funding rate from $4,300 to $5,000. This is the fourth time the bill was introduced to the legislature, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and unrelated politics in 2020, 2021, and 2022, the bill struggled to pass. Now that the language is updated, collaboratives will have the necessary funds to support high-quality classrooms without needing a “legislative intent” paragraph in the budget. In the future, the legislature may raise the per-pupil funding rate via the budget without needing to amend the enacting legislation.
HB 1613. The total appropriation for pre-k is $24M for the collaboratives. This is level funding from FY23 levels. $7,789,474 of the total appropriation comes from the general fund. The additional $16,210,526 comes from the education enhancement fund that is funded through lottery funds. Splitting the funding this way ensures that pre-k has a base of recurring general funds. Advocates again secured a line-item of $3.25M for pre-k coaches, helping the MDE program office to continue to provide high-quality professional experiences to pre-K teachers in collaboratives without being totally reliant on philanthropic funds. An additional $20M was allocated for other public school early learning programs.
Two new early learning collaboratives were approved in 2023:
- Holly Springs Early Learning Collaborative
- Lee County Early Learning Collaborative
These collaboratives, which were approved in a March 2023 funding round, join the existing 34 collaboratives, bringing the total number of communities served to 36 statewide.
The governor enacted a unanimous recommendation from the State Early Childhood Advisory Council to remove the requirement that low-income households in Mississippi seeking to access the state’s Child Care Payment Program (CCPP) prove child support compliance before receiving funding. The requirement was a major barrier to families attempting to secure the CCPP child care vouchers for working parents.