The Education Scholarship Account has received the same amount of funding of $3 million as last session, proverbially kicking the can down the road until next year for any expansion or extension of the program.
The ESA program is set to end in 2020. After efforts to expand or extend the ESA this year failed, Empower Mississippi confirmed that efforts were in place to secure an additional $3 million, which would effectively end the current waitlist. The filing of the conference report showed only the original $3 million in place for the upcoming fiscal year.
While discussion has now been tabled on any real change to the ESA program until next year, a motion to recommit the legislation did fail Thursday on the House Floor. While fielding questions from Democratic caucus leader David Baria, Republican Education Chairman Richard Bennett said: “I think you know that you and I think alike on education.” Someone from the back was heard saying “get a room you two!”
If bipartisan agreements are already in place, it may not bode well for further expansion or extension of the ESA program beyond the 2020 repealer.