Politicians often use the percent of the state budget that is dedicated to public schools as evidence of their support of K-12 education. You have probably heard them claim that education makes up over 60% of the total state budget. That is simply not true. While it is true that all of education – including universities and community colleges – make up about 60% of the General Fund portion of the state budget, the General Fund represents less than 1/2 of the total state budget, exclusive of federal funds. Approximately 55% of state taxes and fees are diverted to special funds and are not considered a part of the General Fund appropriations. But this diverted revenue, like General Fund revenue, is made up of state taxes and fees paid by the people of Mississippi. It is simply diverted to specific state agencies rather than going into the General Fund.
The truth is, when all appropriations of state taxes and fees are considered, K-12 education makes up about 23% of the state budget – a far cry from 60%. When federal funds are included, K-12 makes up only about 16.5% of the state budget.