According to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Mississippi’s revenue is coming in well above what the Legislature projected. In fact, House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson thinks the state’s cash balance at the end of this fiscal year could be as much as $300-million – enough to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) for the coming school year.
The Legislature should make the appropriation at its earliest opportunity.
Click here to see how much additional funding your school district could receive if the MAEP were fully funded for the coming school year.
This good financial news could not come at a better time for Mississippi schoolchildren. Since 2009, our kids’ schools have been shorted approximately $1.3-billion. That means that the Mississippi Legislature has appropriated $1.3-billion less than what state law says is adequate to provide a C level education.
As a result, class sizes have risen significantly and schools have had to eliminate important intervention programs and courses. At the same time, the Legislature has placed additional literacy requirements on schools, and the State Board of Education has adopted a new accountability model that will require schools to add more Advanced Pacement courses by the 2015-2016 school year.
Fully funding the MAEP would allow districts to reduce class size, hire the reading coaches they need to meet the new literacy standards, add Advanced Placement courses required by the new accountability model, and improve interventions and course offerings, better equipping Mississippi students to compete with their peers in other states and countries.
Our elected officials have said that education is their priority and that they are committed to fully funding schools as soon as the money is available. It looks like that time is now! Let’s see if they really mean it.