BOBBY HARRISON: Changes to MAEP formula will prove difficult

Thomas Wells | Buy at

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said recently that it would be foolish not to study and consider changes to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, which provides the state’s share of the basics to operate local school districts.

After all, Reeves reasoned that more than $2 billion in state funds are directed to local school districts through the formula to help local governments pay for everything from teacher salaries, to electricity to turning on the lights at the schoolhouse to janitorial workers to clean the floors.

The Mississippi Adequate Education Program was enacted in 1997 over the veto of then-Gov. Kirk Fordice. It has been well-documented that the formula has been fully funded only twice since its full enactment and has been underfunded about $1.7 billion since 2008.

Many, based on the actions of some Republican leaders through the years, going all the way back to Fordice’s original veto, assume any effort to study the formula is an effort to undermine it. Reeves contends it is just good governance to take a hard look at a formula that accounts for so much state funding.

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