Special education bill dies in Miss. House

With an estimated 65,000 special needs children in the state of Mississippi, the Miss. House rejected an effort to provide “state” funds (essentially education vouchers) for the most needy 500 students to attend an education program that meets their specific needs.

On Tuesday, Rep. David Baria (D-Bay St. Louis) issued a point of order insisting that a super majority would be required to pass the bill since it was seen as a donation of state money to individuals.  Earlier today, Speaker Philip Gunn (R-56) ruled that a simple majority vote was sufficient.  The political jousting was all ‘water under the bridge’ as the measure failed to muster even a simple majority.

One of the 10 Republicans that voted against the bill, Rep. Tom Weathersby (R-Florence), believes that “in our school districts we are capable of handling most of those needs.  Some of our people in the public school system saw it more as a voucher bill than a special needs bill.  Maybe at some point in the future that bill can be amended in a way that we can get some positive effects out of it.”

Rep. Carolyn Crawford (R-Pass Christian) has been pushing the legislation for 2 years emphasizing that Public Schools are not meeting the requirements for special needs.  The amount of funding that would be provided to each special needs child would be on par with the MAEP standard.

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