Secret MAEP Revamp to be Unveiled?
Legislators have been told that MAEP revamp numbers are coming this week, according to sources in the House and Senate. Some say that only "select legislators" will see the data, maybe as early as tomorrow (Tuesday). Everyone involved should take note of the red flags listed below. Speculation is that the leadership is counting votes to determine whether or not they can push through their secret rewrite of the school funding law without the public hearings constituents are demanding.
Some legislators have said that they will vote the way their school superintendents tell them to. While superintendents' expertise and perspectives are vital, parents, teachers, business leaders, and others expect a seat at the table, too.
Please ask your legislators to vote NO on any proposal that has not had a complete public vetting with hearings that are open to the public.
Find contact information for legislators.
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Share the same message with Lt. Governor Reeves, Capitol: 601.359.3200, and Speaker Gunn, Capitol: 601.359.3300.
Some key points to consider:
• Red flag: If the public is not provided an opportunity to weigh in. It's never a good sign when government keeps people in the dark. Honest, open government welcomes public scrutiny. Public hearings should be held on any proposed changes to the school funding law.
• Red flag: If the revamp "numbers" are compared to current (under)funding. This is a sign that the plan is a bad deal. The revamp numbers should be compared to what the current law requires. See what current law requires.
• Red flag: If the unveiling includes numbers for only one year. Legislators have said that no district will lose funding for the first two years under the new plan. We should all be very concerned about years 3, 4, 5, and beyond. We should see estimates for out years, too.
• Red flag: If the unveiling includes only numbers, not the full text of the law. The law could determine funding for decades to come. Numbers are a one-year estimate and are subject to change. The public should see the proposed law, including the methodology used to obtain the "numbers," and respond to it before it is considered for a vote.
• Red flag: If the proposed law does not contain a formula for periodic recalculation of the Base Student Cost. This would leave the annual K-12 appropriation up to the whims of the Legislature; there would be no such thing as "full funding" because there would be no required funding level - a very bad deal for our children. The law should contain a formula for a periodic recalculation of the base student cost.
• Red flag: If the "numbers" aren't verified by MDE. There were data errors in EdBuild's initial recommendations, which is cause for concern if critical decisions about the MAEP revamp are based on EdBuild's estimates. MDE should be asked to run the numbers.
Please note: The Parents' Campaign does not oppose changing the school funding law. What we oppose is changes being made in secret.
We have plenty of time to do this right. Please ask your legislators, most of whom have also been shut out of this process, to stand with their constituents in demanding open, transparent government and a full public vetting of any proposed changes to the MAEP. Together, we've got this!