Education Funding

The Mississippi Adequate Education Program has been only fully funded twice, outraging education advocates who believe schools are underfunded in our state.
While Democrats and school leaders wish to see the full funding of MAEP, Republicans feel education is being more than adequately funded.  
The MAEP formula is used to determine “adequate” funding for each school district across the state. Since 2009, the Legislature has shorted the formula by about $1.5 billion. While this seems like apparent underfunding, Speaker of the Mississippi House Philip Gunn says lawmakers are actually investing heavily in education. “We gave them $2.5 billion this year. That is the most money in the history of the state ever given to education in one year. That amount of money is greater than what MAEP called for.”
While partially funding MAEP, the state is also investing money for specific purposes. For example, this year, the state allocated money for assistant teacher pay raises.
Meanwhile, the state Board of Education says their number one priority has been the full funding of MAEP. The money goes directly to school districts for administrators to spend how they see fit.
State Superintendent Carey Wright said, “Purchase materials, buy additional stuff. There’s a lot of uses once you get out in a school for money in the best interest of the children. So, that would be a thing that I think would make the superintendents incredibly happy.”
While the state Board of Education supports the full funding of the MAEP formula, they have not taken a position on Initiative 42, the ballot measure requiring legislators to fully fund MAEP and authorizing state courts to enforce it.
Meantime, state Republicans do not support Initiative 42 and outvoted Democrats earlier this year to have an alternative placed on the ballot. The alternative measure preserves the power of the Legislature to allocate education dollars without court interference.
In the end, the voters will have to decide on November 3rd.

Categories: Local News, News

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