MAEP Outperforms INSPIRE in Every School District

Compared to the MAEP, every Mississippi public school district loses under the school funding plan proposed in HB 1453, the INSPIRE Act.

The Parents’ Campaign Research and Education Fund ran the numbers estimating the funding each school district would receive in the coming year and for ten subsequent years with each of three school funding scenarios: the current MAEP law, the Senate’s proposed adjustments to the MAEP, and the House-proposed INSPIRE Act. See the analysis here.

In the first year (2024-2025 school year), MAEP funding exceeds INSPIRE funding in 96 school districts, 43 of which have the highest poverty rate possible in MDE’s reporting (>=95%). Increases in MAEP funding outpace increases in INSPIRE funding each year thereafter, and by year 3 (2026-2027), 118 school districts do better with MAEP than INSPIRE, 54 of them high-poverty.

In year 1, the funding provided in the Senate plan exceeds INSPIRE funding in 75 districts, 34 of them high-poverty, and in 113 districts (52 high-poverty) by year 3.

The MAEP and the Senate plan codify an objective formula for determining the base student cost and an inflation factor. Those components ensure that the school funding required by state law reflects the true cost to educate students to Mississippi’s academic standards and keeps pace with rising costs. The House plan does not include an objective formula for the base cost, and the base chosen in their proposal is $815 lower than the base cost in the MAEP and Senate plans. While an inflation factor was added to the INSPIRE plan, it doesn’t kick in until year 4, and the increase it provides is smaller than the inflation factors in the MAEP and the Senate plan. The result is that, despite the large increase in initial funding proposed by the House, two-thirds of school districts get less funding immediately under INSPIRE, and more fall behind with each passing year.

Even worse is that INSPIRE removes accountability from the Legislature. Without an objective formula to tell us what level of funding teachers and students need to meet the bar we have set for them, there would be no such thing as “full funding” and no standard by which we could hold our legislators accountable for adequately funding our public schools.

It makes no sense to replace our school funding law with a worse one. 

HB 1453, the INSPIRE Act, has passed the House and gone to the Senate. Please ask your senators to vote no.

You can check our website’s bill tracker for updates as we move through the session. Thank you for standing in the gap for our children and teachers! Together, we’ve got this.

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