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Mississippi

Our lead ally in Mississippi, Mississippi First, works to champion transformative policy solutions ensuring educational excellence for every child. The organization is the lead advocate for the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013, Mississippi’s state-funded pre-k law. They conduct research, and support advocacy and implementation efforts for the state pre-k program, including supporting the Mississippi Department of Education-funded pre-k programs and applicant communities. The organization is currently expanding its advocacy efforts to the 0-5 space in the state.

2023 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Early Childhood Landscape:

Research shows that family economic security is foundational to children’s overall wellbeing. Research also shows that widespread disparities in opportunity (especially by race) drive wide disparities in outcomes. States with policies that offer strong support to young children and their families are more likely to see 1) declining numbers of children in low-income households and 2) low racial disparity among those children. 

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 51% (156,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (2021). This number represents a decrease from 56% (195,000) in 2016.1

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Black, Hispanic/Latino, and/or Native children aged 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level than are Asian and non-Hispanic White children.2

Advocacy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Growing 

Mississippi finalized its fiscal 2024 budget in April, authorizing $7.6 billion in state support funds, a decrease $1.81 billion, or
19.2 percent, from fiscal 2023 due to a $1.8 billion reduction in Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds. General fund
appropriations total $6.7 billion in fiscal 2024, an increase of $310 million, or 4.9 percent, over fiscal 2023. General fund
revenues are projected at $7.52 billion, a 7.7 percent increase from the current year. The budget sets aside 2 percent of
projected revenue, or $150 million, as required by law. The legislature retained $1.4 billion in reserve funds that is available to address shortfalls in revenues or fiscal 2024 deficits.3

Largest Per Capita Revenue Sources (after federal transfers) (FY 2021):4

    • Charges: $2,119 per capita
    • Sales Tax: $1,430 per capita

Charges are public payments connected with a specific government service, such as tuition paid to a state university, payments to a public hospital, or highway tolls. 

Political Alignment: Aligned Republican

During the 2023 session, the state’s Senate and House were both Republican controlled. The state’s Governor was also a Republican.5

Types of Common Ballot Measures Available:6  Two

    • Legislature-Initiated Constitutional Amendments – A constitutional amendment that appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.
    • Voter-Initiated Constitutional Amendments – An amendment to a state’s constitution that comes about through the initiative process.

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Organizations Include:

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Multi-State Initiatives Include:7

2023 Policy Progress:

The Mississippi legislature permanently raised the per-pupil funding rate for state-funded pre-k from $4,300 to $5,000. The legislature also level-funded pre-k at $24 million, which will serve 25% of Mississippi four-year-olds (roughly 9,120 children). Currently, around 6,900 four-year-olds are being served. The general fund will cover $7.7m of this appropriation and the remaining $16.2m are lottery funds. The legislature again supported pre-K teachers by committing $3.2m for pre-k coaches. This will help the Mississippi Department of Education continue to provide high-quality professional experiences to pre-k teachers in collaboratives without dependence on philanthropy.

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include:8

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.

Ongoing Grantee Areas of Advocacy:

The Alliance’s lead grantee in Mississippi, Mississippi First, is working to advance early childhood policies in several areas that align with the Alliance’s birth-through-eight policy framework

Early Care and Education

Preschool and Pre-K

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

Child and
Maternal Health

 

 

 

Family
Supports

 

 

 

Early Childhood Infratructure

Early Childhood Governance 

RECENT ADVOCACY SNAPSHOT:

NOTES:

1 Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, November, 2022 

2 National Center for Children in Poverty, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, March 2023, NCCP analysis of ACS 1-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2021

3 National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2024 Enacted Budgets, October 11, 2023.

4 Urban Institute, State Fiscal Briefs, July 2023

5 National Conference of State Legislatures, 2023 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 28, 2023.

6 Ballotpedia, Ballot Measures by State, Kids Count Data Center, retrieved May, 2023.

7 Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

8 Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-August, 2023.  

More State Policy Data:

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More State Demographic Data:

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