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Revitalizing the INSPIRE Act: A Renewed Initiative

The House’s proposed K-12 funding formula as a replacement for MAEP has been rejected twice by the Senate during this 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 final effort to breathe new life into their proposed K-12 education funding formula, the Mississippi House of Representatives made a strategic move by adopting a strike-all amendment to incorporate the INSPIRE Act into a second Senate bill.

On Wednesday, just before the deadline, the House approved an amendment to introduce the INSPIRE Act. This marks the third instance this legislative session where the House has forwarded the proposed formula to the Senate.

During the floor session, Representative Rob Roberson, Chairman of the House Education Committee, motioned to include the INSPIRE Act in the Senate bill.

“This provides us with one more opportunity to present the Senate with a chance to review this and make decisions that are in the best interest of our students,” stated Roberson.

The amendment passed in the House with a vote of 103-16.

Originally designed to address underperforming school districts that consistently receive a D or F grade based on the assessments by the Mississippi Department of Education, SB 2693 aimed to outline a corrective path for these districts.

Representative Roberson noted that the bill being replaced has a corresponding bill from the House, which has already been approved by the Senate.

“That bill has already cleared the Senate; it’s on its way back to us. We will give our approval when it returns. The strike-all amendment substitutes that bill with our INSPIRE Act,” explained Roberson.

The Senate has previously dismissed the funding formula outlined in the INSPIRE Act twice during this session, which seeks to replace the current education funding formula under the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP).

Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar chose not to consider the original version of the legislation in HB 1453 before the committee deadline. Following the bill’s failure, the House reintroduced the funding formula by incorporating it into the Senate’s education funding bill, SB 2332, which initially aimed to make adjustments to the existing MAEP funding formula.

Earlier this week, Senator DeBar urged the Senate not to approve that bill and also declined to enter into a conference, effectively halting the INSPIRE Act for the second time.

Given the Senate’s previous actions regarding the INSPIRE Act this session, the odds suggest that the strike-all amendment added to SB 2693 on Wednesday may face a fate similar to the previous House endeavors.