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Still Time to Contact Representatives; Ed Funding Debate Tomorrow - The Parents Campaign

Still Time to Contact Representatives; Ed Funding Debate Tomorrow

The House did not take up the funding bill today, so there is still time to make those calls! We are expecting that debate tomorrow shortly after the House convenes at 10 a.m. You can watch it here.

 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.
  • While the House proposal does take us closer to full funding, it will leave the MAEP under-funded by $201-million.
  • Better funding yields better achievement. Click here to see a graph showing the correlation between MAEP funding and Mississippi’s fourth-grade reading scores.
  • During the recession, the education budget suffered massive, disproportionate cuts that were never fully restored. When other budgets rebounded, education funding remained stagnant. Increases in the rest of the state budget have far outpaced those of K-12; it’s time for K-12 to catch up:
    • This year’s state budget is $2.2-billion more than the FY2008 budget (See details), and yet this year’s MAEP budget, including the teacher pay raise, is $50-million less than the MAEP budget in FY2008. See funding table. 
    • 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 state 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.
    • 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; the adopted revenue estimate for FY2016 is $170-million more than the FY2015 budget, and revenue for the current year has already come in $88-million ahead of those projections.

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

The Parents’ Campaign Research and Education Fund recently compared each school district’s state MAEP funding to the cost of the district’s teacher salaries and benefits for the 2013-2014 school year, the most recent year for which complete records are available. They found that:

  • 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; the balance was paid from 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 funding that is required to cover just the cost of teacher salaries and benefits.

The MAEP 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. 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.

They Swear They Really Want to Fully Fund the MAEP

Earlier in this legislative session, lawmakers took steps to kill the citizen-sponsored school-funding amendment to the state constitution by passing an alternate amendment. They claimed that they, alone, should be responsible for school funding, with no judicial oversight to protect our children. They swore that they were working as hard as they possibly could to fully fund the MAEP. Well, it’s time for them to prove it; recent history indicates otherwise. They have given away hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate tax cuts to their lobbyist buddies, they’ve funded their pet projects, and they’ve stuffed money into savings accounts, all at the expense of our kids. 

This I know: Mississippi children are as bright and capable as the children in any other state. There is no good reason that their achievement should be consistently lower than that of their peers across the country. We, as a state, have failed them repeatedly; we have flatly refused to provide them the same level of resources that other states provide their children, and it shows. We have set them up for failure, and it is shameful.

Our kids deserve better. Please call your legislators. Tell them they are out of excuses. Their job is to find a way to provide the basic services that we, as a people, expect. A strong public education should be at the very top of the list. Legislators have had years to figure out how to get the job done. It’s time to hold them accountable for doing what we elected them to do.

Tell everyone you know to call, text, email, Facebook, and tweet their reps. Our kids are counting on us!

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