Judge: Mississippi not obligated to fully fund schools

Mississippi legislators are not obligated to fully fund an education budget formula every year, a judge ruled in a lawsuit filed by a former governor.

Hinds County Chancery Judge William Singletary’s ruling was signed Tuesday and filed Wednesday in a lawsuit that former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove brought last year on behalf of 21 school districts, including the state’s second-largest district, Jackson Public Schools.

Collectively, the districts had sought more than $240 million they said they were shortchanged during six state budget years, the most recent of which ended June 30….

….Singletary wrote that he believes education “is one of the most important functions of state government” and that “MAEP should be annually funded to the fullest extent possible.”

“This court is sympathetic to plaintiffs’ untenable position of being required to educate the students of Mississippi with less than a fully funded MAEP,” Singletary wrote. “However, this court is unable to interpret the relevant statutes as imposing a mandatory annual duty on each legislator to automatically vote to apportion and allocate to each district 100 percent of the funds estimated under MAEP.”

ClarionLedger
7/15/15