Education Funding Options to Appear on Nov. 3rd Ballot

Today at a post legislative briefing, lawmakers said education was a hot topic last session and predict it will be one again next year.
On November 3rd, you will see two education funding options on your ballot. Initiative 42, created by the public, would require the state to fully fund MAEP, a law created in 1997 using a formula to ensure “adequate funding” for public school districts across the state. State courts would be responsible for enforcing this law. Julie Weaver, a partner and volunteer with “Fed up with 50th”, said “It doesn’t make sense to me to starve all of our schools because of some undefined, ill-defined problem they have with the formula.”
You’ll also see an alternative to Initiative 42, created by legislature, which would allow lawmakers to create a method of funding schools, other than following MAEP’s formula. This legislation would not be enforceable by state courts.
State Senator Tony Smith said, “I would hate to know that our coast schools that have great fund balances and things like, that a judge could all of a sudden can say well you know what, ocean springs school district has a lot of money. I think we can take some of that money and re-appropriate it to another area of the state.”
But if you read the proposed ballot summary to Initiative 42, it says the state courts will only have the power to enforce, meaning require the legislature to fully fund education based on the formula already created by lawmakers. It does not say the courts can control where the money goes.
Parents in favor of Initiative 42 say they just want to ensure something is done to fund schools that have been shorted by about $1.5 Billion since 2009.
The state is currently appealing a judge’s ruling that they change the wording to the proposed alternative that will appear on November’s ballot, saying it would confuse voters.

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