House members receive numbers for new education funding proposal - - Jackson, MS

House members receive numbers for new education funding proposal

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

House members received numbers from the non-profit EdBuild Wednesday. Those numbers would give more money to K-12 education than last year but it's still less than what's considered full funding under the current formula.Representative Tom Miles says there's a lot of "Capitol math" happening but doesn't know what the proposal will look like in reality.

"These numbers are only good if we come up with another $107 million," explained Rep. Miles.

That's with the math from House Speaker Philip Gunn. He isn't sticking to last year's Edbuild recommendations. First, he asked that the base student cost be lowered from $4,840 to $4,000. Gunn was one of the leaders who hired EdBuild. But now he's veering from their suggestion that property-rich districts should contribute more. He doesn't think they should do away with the rule that caps local district's contribution at 27 percent.

"If we can get more money to the schools and more money to the classrooms, that's what we all want to do," added Miles. "But let's not give false hopes or smoke and mirrors to justify us not doing our work in Jackson."

Some Republicans think they can make it work.

"It sounds like a lot of money but it's really like 1% of the whole budget," said Rep. Gary Chism-R.

Others are reserving judgment until they see the bill and the proposal in full.

"I'm very concerned," noted Rep. Noah Sanford-R. "State revenues are tight and I'm not sure where $107 million more for education would come from at this time. to come from one area it would have to be pulled  from another agency and most agencies are cash strapped at this point."

Still, House members tell me they feel like they're in a holding pattern while they wait on a bill and see which numbers are plugged into the formula.

"There is an effort to replace a formula we have that we've failed to fund with a new formula," said Rep. David Baria, House minority leader. "And we're going to have the same problem with this new formula."

A bill has not been filed with the formula rewrite yet and Senate Education leaders say they don't know yet if their proposal will be the same.

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