Gov. Haley Barbour and his allies in the Legislature defend
current education funding on the grounds that it was increased
over last year and takes up about 60 percent of the state budget.
What they don’t discuss much, however, is the Mississippi
Adequate Education Program, a formula designed to ensure
that every school district has enough money to meet mid-level
state accreditation standards.
Some states have been ordered by the courts to fund minimum
standards in all their school districts. So far, Mississippi
has been spared such lawsuits, thanks, at least in part, to
The formula was put into law in 1997 and phased in over six
years. But, it has been fully funded only once – in the state
budget year that began in July 2003.
Some say the formula needs to be studied and perhaps
revised. If reforms are needed, so be it. But put a good plan in
place and fund it.
Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory was right when he said the other
day that “money alone won’t solve the problem,” of education.
But “lack of money will just about guarantee failure.”