With MAEP, schools and districts receive funding from the state but also receive money at the local level. Districts must contribute $28 for every $1,000 of assessed property value in the school district, but there is also a rule that a district is not required to provide more than 27 percent of the funds calculated through the MAEP formula. If the value of 28 mills is more than 27 percent of the total funding amount, the state provides the difference between the two amounts.
This is what Johnson called a “loophole.” Districts with a wealthier tax base pay less in local contributions since the state covers the difference. Blount said this was a factor in why a bill never materialized during the session.“Many of those members, most of whom are Republican, were concerned about a possible negative impact on their local communities and the traumatic increase in local property taxes because of the actions taken by the Legislature and that’s why we never saw a bill and there was no vote despite all this massive interest in this important topic.
“Decisions are made by a small group of people without talking to anybody, without any public input,” Blount said. “If somebody has a bill to change the formula, lets see it.”