Legislative budget hearings are nearly complete. By the time you read this column, legislators will have already endured hours of hearings in which agencies ask for more of your tax dollars to pay for things like increased salaries and wireless radios.
Nonetheless, the biggest slice of the state’s budgetary pie will go to education, specifically K-12. Within education, the largest line-item is the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, known by most as “MAEP.” Around the State Capitol, MAEP has become something of a four-letter word (see what I did there?).
When the MAEP was adopted, it was heralded as a magic formula that would, based on district measures like student population and free or reduced lunches, spit out the amount of money needed to “adequately” fund schools. So then, what’s the problem?