Senate Appropriations Chairman Buck Clarke has announced that the Senate budget plan includes a $40-million increase to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) for Fiscal Year 2017 (2016-2017 school year), as well as increases to universities and community colleges. It is very early in the appropriations process, and neither the Senate Appropriations Committee nor the full Senate has had an opportunity to vote on the K-12 budget bill, but any talk of increasing MAEP funding in the current environment is welcome news.
In the two previous budget years, the majority of the increases to the MAEP were used to cover the cost of a well-deserved pay raise for teachers. The $40-million increase in MAEP funding included in this year’s Senate plan will not be needed for that purpose and, if it passes the House, should help districts restore programs and teacher positions that were lost due to recession-era budget cuts, perhaps reducing class size.
Please join me in thanking Chairman Clarke and Senate budget writers for their recognition that public schools need and deserve better funding.
The Senate budget proposal does call for significant cuts to other segments of the K-12 budget, and we will look closely at that proposal when the full budget is brought forward.