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INSPIRE Act finds new life

INSPIRE Act finds new life

By: Jeremy Pittari - April 10, 2024

From left, Rep. Rob Roberson and Rep. Kent McCarty present HB 1453, which would replace the current MAEP funding formula with the INSPIRE Act, to the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday. (Photo by Jeremy Pittari | Magnolia Tribune)

  • The Senate has already rejected the House’s proposed K-12 funding formula to replace MAEP twice during the session.

As the saying goes, until sine die is called, no legislation is truly dead even if it’s declared dead, dead, dead.

In a last-ditch attempt to revive its proposed new K-12 education funding formula, the Mississippi House of Representatives adopted a strike-all amendment to insert the INSPIRE Act into a second Senate bill.

On Wednesday, before the deadline, the House adopted an amendment to SB 2693 to insert the INSPIRE Act. This is the third time this legislative session that the House has sent the proposed formula to the Senate.

House Education Committee Chairman Rob Roberson (R) made the motion to add the INSPIRE Act to the Senate bill on the floor.

“This will give us one more opportunity to give the Senate a chance to look at this and do what’s best and right for our school children,” Roberson said. 

It passed the House by a vote of 103-16.

SB 2693 was originally intended to deal with failing school districts that regularly receive a D or F as part of the Mississippi Department of Education’s assessment by outlining a path for correcting deficiencies.

Rep. Roberson said the bill being replaced has a companion bill from the House that has already passed the Senate in HB 1696.

“That bill has already passed the Senate; it’s coming back to us. We will concur on it when it gets over here. The strike-all amendment replaces that bill with our INSPIRE Act,” Roberson explained.

Twice already this session the Senate has rejected the funding formula outlined in the INSPIRE Act, which would replace the state’s current education funding formula in the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP.

Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar (R) declined to take up the original version of the legislation in HB 1453 before the committee deadline. After the bill died, the House revived the funding formula by inserting it into the Senate’s own education funding bill, SB 2332, which initially sought to tweak the current MAEP funding formula.

Earlier this week, Senator Debar called for the Senate to not concur on that bill while also declining to go to conference, killing the INSPIRE Act for a second time.

Based on the prior actions of the Senate this session concerning the INSPIRE Act, odds favor the strike-all added to SB 2693 on Wednesday meeting a similar fate as the previous House attempts.

About the Author(s)
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Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics. Email Jeremy: