2012 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Representative Brown (66th)
AN ACT TO CREATE THE TASK FORCE TO STUDY AND REPORT ON THE FUNDING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF UNIVERSAL PRE-KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS IN MISSISSIPPI; TO PRESCRIBE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE TASK FORCE AND ITS DUTIES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
WHEREAS, research shows that focused early childhood education services and interventions enhance cognitive development and improve learning outcomes; and
WHEREAS, the State of Mississippi established and funds a voluntary statewide kindergarten program for all five-year-olds but has never funded pre-kindergarten educational programs; and
WHEREAS, the Mississippi Legislature recognizes that the development and funding of quality research-based pre-kindergarten programs is needed urgently in our state; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Task Force to Study and Report on the Funding and Implementation of Universal Pre-Kindergarten Programs in Mississippi is created to study and report on its findings and recommendations on those matters enumerated in subsection (3) of this section. The task force shall be composed of the following twenty-five (25) members:
(a) The Chairmen of the House and Senate Education Committees;
(b) The Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees;
(c) The Chairmen of the House Public Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee;
(d) The State Superintendent of Public Education, or his designee;
(e) The Executive Director of Human Services, or his designee;
(f) The Director of the Early Childhood Institute, Mississippi State University;
(g) Eight (8) persons who represent the state's schools of education, with one (1) person being appointed by the Commissioner of Higher Education from the school of education at each state institution of higher learning;
(h) Two (2) persons who represent a Head Start program in the state, to be appointed by the Speaker of the House;
(i) One (1) person who represents a pre-kindergarten private provider in the state, to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor;
(j) The superintendent of a local school district, to be appointed by the Speaker of the House;
(k) One (1) person who is recognized as an expert in early childhood education, to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor;
(l) One (1) person who is a business leader in the state, to be appointed by the Governor;
(m) One (1) person who represents a Title I pre-kindergarten program in a local district, to be appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Education;
(n) One (1) person who represents a non-Title I pre-kindergarten program in a local school district, to be appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Education; and
(o) The Executive Director of Mississippi Building Blocks, or his designee.
(2) All members of the task force must be appointed within thirty (30) days after the effective date of this act. The task force shall hold its first meeting no later than July 15, 2012, on the call of the Governor at a place designated by him. At that first meeting, the task force shall elect from among its membership a chairman and other officers, if any, determined to be necessary. A majority of the membership of the task force shall constitute a quorum, and an affirmative vote of a majority of the task force shall be required for all actions taken. All members must be notified in writing of all meetings at least five (5) days before the date on which a meeting of the task force is scheduled.
(3) (a) The task force shall perform, at a minimum, the following duties:
(i) Conduct a study of the effectiveness of pre-kindergarten programs that exist in other states;
(ii) Review the structure and administration of pre-kindergarten programs in other states;
(iii) Conduct a study of pre-kindergarten program funding mechanisms used in other states;
(iv) Conduct a study of the possibility of collaboration of pre-kindergarten providers, including public schools, Head Start and private providers;
(v) Identify and conduct a study of effective pre-kindergarten program curricula and services;
(vi) Determine pre-kindergarten program requirements relating to facilities, nutrition services and transportation;
(vii) Prepare a compilation and review of the pre-kindergarten services currently provided in Mississippi;
(viii) Study any other issues relating to pre-kindergarten programs determined to be relevant by the task force;
(ix) Tour at least one (1) nationally recognized successful pre-kindergarten program offered in another state; and
(x) Make appropriate findings and recommendations addressing the matters enumerated in this paragraph, including any legislative action that is considered necessary by the task force.
(b) Before January 2, 2013, the task force shall submit a written report presenting its findings and recommendations regarding the implementation and funding of a universal pre-kindergarten program in Mississippi to the Governor and to all members of the Legislature for consideration during the 2013 Regular Session.
(4) Members of the task force, other than the legislative members, shall receive reimbursement for travel expenses incurred while engaged in official business of the task force in accordance with Section 25-3-41. Legislative members of the task force shall receive the compensation authorized for committee meetings when the Legislature is not in session. Payment of these expenses must be from funds made available specifically for such purpose by the Legislature or from any other public or private source.
(5) The State Department of Education and the Mississippi Department of Human Services, acting jointly, shall provide appropriate staff support to assist the task force in carrying out its duties. Each department shall designate an appropriate employee to act as a point of contact for the provision of staff support to the task force.
(6) Upon presentation of its report, the task force shall be dissolved.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.