Moss Point Still Has Not Joined Lawsuit Against the State

This week, Jackson city schools have signed on to a $225 million lawsuit against the State of Mississippi for money owed to public schools from the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (M.A.E.P.)

Wednesday, State Representative Jeramey Anderson was in his home district of Moss Point, demanding the school district also join the lawsuit. The deadline to sign up for the M.A.E.P. lawsuit is Friday, and the lawyers say it won’t cost the districts anything unless they win, but at this point, no school district on the Coast has signed up.

Wednesday, Representative Anderson explained why he is so passionate about Moss Point schools joining the suit. Anderson says, “When Moss Point asks for money funding their schools this upcoming fiscal year, they need it for textbooks in our schools. We can’t even afford text books. The basic necessities we need, we can’t supply. That’s why I’m so heavy on Moss Point, because they need the money more so, in my opinion, than anyone on the Coast.”

According to Anderson, the state owes Moss Point schools $8.3 million from the 2006 amendment to the M.A.E.P. Over the past month, several lawyer groups, including one led by former Governor, Ronnie Musgrove, have filed suit against the state on behalf of 20 school districts.

The school board won’t say why the district won’t sign up for what appears to be a free lawsuit, but officials with the district say they take education funding very seriously. Dr. Maggie Griffin, Superintendent of the Moss Point School District, says, “As far as M.A.E.P. funding, all districts want full funding. That is what our goal is.”

Last month, a spokeswoman for the Better Schools Better Jobs ballot initiative spoke out against the suit. The group, which wants to amend the state constitution to make it mandatory for the legislature to fund education, told the Clarion Ledger it was opposed to the lawsuit because it would mean some education money going to lawyers.

Representative Anderson thinks lawsuit is necessary in case the ballot initiative fails. Anderson closes, “It’s not a set in stone thing, it’s not a guaranteed thing. I just think we need both of them. We need to work together to make sure we supply an adequate education in this state.”

At this point, only 20 districts throughout the state have joined the lawsuit.

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