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Southern Echo and the MS Delta Catalyst Rountable Press Conference

Posted on: January 24, 2011

SOUTHERN ECHO and the MS DELTA CATALYST ROUNDTABLE

PUBLIC EDUCATION PRESS CONFERENCE

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2011 at 11:30 AM

2ND FLOOR, STATE CAPITOL

On Wednesday, January 26th at 11:30 am Southern Echo and the MS Delta Catalyst Roundtable will hold a Press Conference at the Capitol on the 2nd floor in support of:

a.Full funding for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP); and

b.In opposition to any bill that mandates the forced merger or consolidation of public school districts.
Petitions to be presented:At the press conference several thousand petitions on each of these two issues will be presented for delivery to Governor Haley Barbour, Lt. Governor Phil Bryant, Speaker of the House Billy McCoy, House Education Chair Cecil Brown and Senate Education Chair Videt Carmichael.

Speakers:The press conference speakers will feature legislators, educators, parents, students, community organizations and other education stakeholders.

Education Funding:The current proposal for so-called “level funding” is expected to under-fund public education by $230 million.It is called “level” because the amount of funding is equivalent to the public education funding last year.But last year’s appropriation underfunded public education by a substantial amount.Therefore, the proposal on the table this year should be considered “level underfunding”.

The proposed massive underfunding will further impair public education at the very time that the state must implement more rigorous curriculum standards and accountability for student performance on standardized tests, retain and attract quality teachers, turn around low-performing school districts, reduce student dropout rates and increase student graduation rates on time, and implement other mandates in the Children First Act of 2009.The school districts and the MS Dept. of Education cannot realistically be expected to make this progress when we substantially underfund public education each year.Many school districts are “getting by” this period by eliminating key programs, not replacing teachers and other personnel who leave the district, and by increasing class size, all of which diminish the educational opportunities for the students.We must fight for full funding!

School Consolidation or Merger:In 2010 the Governor’s Commission on Educational Structure set about to study the issue of school consolidation in order to report its findings and recommendations to the state legislature.The Commission heard from numerous experts and the public and received several studies submitted to the Commission.In the end the Commission declined to make a finding that forced or involuntary school consolidation was an appropriate remedy for existing financial or academic problems, and did not recommend any legislation that would require forced or involuntary consolidation or merger of public school districts.We do not need at this time any legislation that will force involuntary consolidation or merger of our public school districts.

Come join us at the Press Conference at the Capitol on Wednesday, January 26 at 11:30 am to demonstrate your support on these issues!We look forward to seeing you there!

The partner organizations in the MS Delta Catalyst Roundtable are:

Southern Echo, Inc.; Concerned Citizens for a Better Tunica County; Concerned Citizens for a Better Greenville; Nollie Jenkins Family Center (Holmes County); Sunflower County Parents & Students Organization; Activists With A Purpose (Grenada County); Action Communication & Education Reform (Montgomery County); Citizens for Educational Awareness (Montgomery County); Youth Innovation Movement Solutions (Panola and Lee counties); Fannie Lou Hamer Center for Change (Webster County); and FFIREDUPP (Tallahatchie County).