JACKSON, Mississippi — Mississippi’s public schools need an additional $312 million from lawmakers next year to fully fund the formula that determines how much money education is supposed to get, state education leaders said Wednesday.
The state Board of Education approved a 2016 budget request seeking $370 million over the $2.49 billion lawmakers allotted in the budget that began July 1. That includes money for programs beyond the Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding formula.
The formula is calculated by looking at average spending in typical districts, computing “adequate” amounts for instruction, administration, transportation and other expenses. Wednesday’s calculation is an early estimate that will be revised later. But it’s made now because agencies are preparing 2016 budget requests ahead of September hearings.
The Board of Education is legally required to seek full funding of MAEP, and legislators are supposed to be legally bound to comply. Lawmakers allotted $95 million more to schools this year, mostly because of pay raises. But they put $257 million less than the full amount into the formula this year, bringing a gap over six years to $1.5 billion.