The House and Senate education committees will meet at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, to hear from EdBuild about a possible revamp of the school funding formula. This meeting, which is open to the public, will be held in Room 216 of the Capitol. The leadership has said that public hearings will be held around the state to allow citizens to provide feedback on possible changes to school funding, but that schedule has not yet been announced.
Two weeks ago, Lt. Governor Reeves and Speaker Gunn announced that they had hired EdBuild to review and provide recommendations for a possible overhaul of Mississippi’s school funding mechanism. The web site of the two-year-old EdBuild states that its goal is to make school funding more equitable.
Mississippi became a national leader in equity funding with the 1997 passage of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP). But, because the formula has been funded only twice, true equity in school funding has rarely been achieved in our state. The MAEP is currently under-funded statewide by more than $172-million, and many of our state’s children spend the school day in dilapidated buildings with outdated textbooks and otherwise inadequate resources.
EdBuild notes that students living in poverty should be provided a greater share of state funding in order to level the playing field and give them the same shot at success as their relatively more affluent peers. Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the nation but among the lowest levels of per student funding. We are looking forward to learning how EdBuild proposes to make school funding fairer for Mississippi’s public school students.
We will attend Thursday’s meeting and provide you a full report. If you would like to hear in person what EdBuild has to say, join us at 2:00 p.m. Thursday in Room 216 of the State Capitol.