School Funding Bill Coming Soon
This week we will get our first look at how legislators will respond to last November's clarion call for adequate funding for our children's schools. Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians will be watching closely. The House Appropriations Committee will meet tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.; the deadline for the House floor vote on school funding is next Wednesday.
Please remind House Appropriations Committee members that we are counting on them to demonstrate a real commitment to our children's futures by providing adequately for their schools.
You can find contact information for the members of the House Appropriations Committee here.
Polling throughout last summer showed overwhelmingly that Mississippians want the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) fully funded. Listen here as public school mom Lauren Stubblefield of Vicksburg expresses what so many understand: our children's future depends on well-funded schools.
To date, the Legislature's record on school funding has been dismal. Perhaps our new crop of legislators will do better.
Since the recession, nearly every other state budget category has grown significantly while K-12 lagged behind (see graph). This year, the percent of the total state budget appropriated to K-12 education is at a historic low, with only 21% of state appropriations going to public schools, most of which goes straight to the classroom to pay our teachers. A 2014 review revealed that the statewide MAEP appropriation was less than the total statewide expenditure for teacher salaries and benefits.
Teachers and students are doing their part; it's time for the Legislature to uphold its end of the education bargain. We will be watching closely and reporting to you on their progress. Please contact the members of the Appropriations Committee, and keep watching your email inbox!