Most likely, if the initiative passes, the courts will not only decide if, when, and how full funding of MAEP will take effect, but also whether the state can sue for permission to cut MAEP funding when revenue shortfalls occur.
That’s because the constitutional amendment proposed by Initiative 42 says, “The chancery courts of this state shall have the power to enforce this section with appropriate injunctive relief.”
Initiative advocates downplay this provision, saying state law already subjects legislative action to judicial review. But, voters should be aware that putting this language in the constitution is extraordinary and invites court activity beyond normal judicial review. No-one can predict the long-term consequences of giving the judicial branch power over school funding. Voters should consider the potential impact of this change.
Let me inject one personal point. People like me who have attended and sent our children to public schools, voted for school bond issues, and favored increased school funding should not be intimidated into voting for Initiative 42 if we think it goes too far. A flawed amendment causing long-term havoc can be worse than the status quo.