The House is likely to vote on the K-12 funding bill this afternoon. Here are the facts you need to know:
- An increase of $307.8-million would be required to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), not counting the pay raise for assistant teachers.
- The House is proposing an increase of $106.7-million in MAEP funding, $40-million of which is required for the second phase of the teacher pay raise.
- The House proposal will leave the MAEP underfunded by $201-million.
- The FY2016 budget has an additional $112-million available due to the two percent set-aside not being required because the Rainy Day Fund is full.
- This year’s state budget is $2.2-billion more than the FY08 budget, See details.
- This year’s MAEP budget, including the teacher pay raise, is $50-million less than the MAEP budget in FY08. See details.
- Most state agency budgets have long since recovered the shortfalls necessitated by the recession and have seen their budgets soar past FY2008 levels while the K-12 budget has remained below that of FY2008. See graph.
- While the K-12 budget remains below the 2008 level, the rest of the state budget has risen to more than 30 percent above the pre-recession high set in 2008. See graph.
- In FY2008, K-12 made up 28% of the state budget; this year it makes up 23% of the state budget, indicating a drop in priority (this includes all funding to K-12 education). See chart.
- Current MAEP funding is insufficient to cover the cost of teacher salaries and benefits in almost half of Mississippi’s school districts. See more information and how your district fares below.
- Better funding yields better achievement. Click here to see a graph showing the correlation between MAEP funding and Mississippi’s fourth-grade reading scores.
Teachers and students are under enormous pressure to perform at levels never before expected of Mississippi students, and yet state leaders have consistently failed to provide the resources required to get the job done. Despite chronic underfunding and tremendous challenges, schools have made remarkable progress. It’s time for the Legislature to step up and do its part. Astoundingly, some leaders have made it clear that they would rather give state funding away in the form of tax cuts than to provide the resources required to educate our children well and pull our state off the bottom.
Please tell your representative that enough is enough! It’s past time to invest in our children and fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.
Find contact information for legislators here.
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Speaker Gunn Capitol: 601.359.3300
State MAEP Funding Insufficient to Cover the Cost of Teacher Salaries in 68 Districts
Despite their repeated claims to support classroom funding, Mississippi lawmakers are doing anything but that.
The Parents’ Campaign Research and Education Fund recently ran the numbers on state funding of the MAEP and teacher salaries for the 2013-2014 school year, the most recent year for which complete records are available. Here is what they found:
- In 68 of the 151 school districts, the MAEP funds received from the state were not sufficient to cover the cost of teacher salaries and benefits.
- Districts that spent more on teacher salaries and benefits than they received from the state had to pay the balance of those salaries, and all other classroom costs, out of local and other funds.
- In 120 school districts, 90% or more of the district’s state MAEP funds were required to cover the cost of teacher salaries and benefits.
Click here to see the percent of your school district’s MAEP funds that is required to cover just the cost of teacher salaries and benefits.
The MAEP, including add-ons, is intended to cover the basic costs of operating a school: teacher salaries and benefits; curriculum materials; instructional supplies; lights, heat, air, and plumbing; custodial services; grounds and maintenance; transportation; and more. Yet, in almost half of our school districts, the funds they receive from the state will not even cover the cost of paying their teachers, let alone all of the other things required to successfully educate children.
If elected officials want more money going into classrooms, as they claim, they should fully fund the MAEP. There is no other source of state funding to cover these classroom costs.
Friends, our children have waited long enough. Scores of Mississippi kids have graduated without realizing the promise of adequate school funding made to them by our state. How many more children’s lives will be ruined before our leaders find the political will to provide decent resources for their schools?
Let’s make those calls and insist that those we elected invest our tax dollars in our priorities – our children. Tell everyone you know to call their reps, and let’s get this done for our kids!