The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (LBC) has adopted its official Legislative Budget Recommendation, calling for level funding for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) and near-level funding for all of K-12 and other state agencies. The Legislative Budget Recommendation is considered the baseline for formal budget negotiations which will begin in January after the Legislature convenes the 2011 Legislative Session.
Though we are grateful that the members of the Legislative Budget Committee have not recommended additional cuts to school budgets for the coming year, it is important to remember that level funding is far from full funding. Level funding means that our schools will continue to operate with the tremendous shortfalls they are currently experiencing.
If the full Legislature appropriates level funding, the same funding schools have now, for the coming year, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) will be funded at a level that is approximately $230-million below what state law says is adequate to educate a child in Mississippi.
Over the past couple of years, the education budget has been subjected to massive cuts – deeper cuts than have been experienced by most other state agencies. (Click here to learn more.) As a result of those cuts, class sizes are large, resources are few, and teachers are experiencing tremendous burnout as a result of the difficult circumstances caused by significantly reduced resources. It is critical that legislators make education a real priority and get our schools back to an adequate level of funding in the very near future.