Public education supporters are satisfied after a legislative session that saw the state’s basic funding obligation filled for the first time in a nonelection year, but will “full funding” be robbed again?
The Mississippi Adequate Education Program was fully funded as part of the nine-part public schools package of The Quality Education Act of 2008. Although some of the components weren’t met, including a 3-percent across-the-board teacher pay raise, the complex formula of MAEP that provides money to schools to meet midlevel performance goals will be met. State lawmakers have routinely not met its requirements. It had been fully funded only during the state election years of 2003 and 2007 since it was enacted in 1997.
As part of the Quality Education Act, lawmakers also restored funds set aside for supplies. These and other funds that had previously been diverted were restored. This should be a cause for celebration, right?
Maybe not so fast. As Gov. Haley Barbour was signing the bill into law, school districts were crunching numbers for the next year.
It appears much of the gains – for districts that have them – will be absorbed.