Education funding creates early budget battle - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Education funding creates early budget battle

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Voters entrust that their legislators will make the right calls on budget decisions. This session, some lawmakers are not on the same page when it comes to education funding.

Supporters of fully funding public education started their demands by signing off on a petition to get the MAEP initiative on November's ballot. But it looks like it could have company.

"We think there is discussion within each chamber of the legislature for a dirty trick on the 200,000 people that signed the petition for K-12 education funding," said Patsy Brumfield.

That sparked Wednesday's virtual rally. Folks participated by using the hashtag "Hands Off 42". Organizers think an alternative measure would just confuse voters.

A few lawmakers say they've heard about an alternative but don't know the details. While others aren't ready to name names and say they don't know exactly who would be leading that charge.

"If there is an alternative I have not seen it as chairman of the education committee and I've intentionally stayed out of those negotiations," said Representative John Moore.

The legislative black caucus is also pushing for a change in funding.

"I say we need to fully fund public education because it's the right thing to do," explained Representative Alyce Clarke.

They're frustrated that the formula known as MAEP has only been fully funded twice since it was created in 1997.

"It was just the floor, not the ceiling," said Senator David Jordan. "Because some counties in some school districts were just rock bottom poor. They did not have the resources."

There's still a lawsuit pending in court about the issue. Several school districts sued the state for failing to fully fund MAEP. The caucus isn't picking sides on the method they'd like to see used. They just want full funding.

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