CHARLIE MITCHELL: If ‘shall’ means ‘shall,’ Musgrove says he’ll win

The school funds lawsuit former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove is spearheading isn’t complicated. It’s simple litigation — a petition for a declaratory judgment.

He and a cohort of attorneys will ask the court what “shall” means. If it means “must” or “not optional,” then the Legislature may have to cough up $1.5 billion for K-12 education.

That’s the amount, Musgrove says, schools were shorted — cash schools would have received had the Legislature followed the “shall” it put in Mississippi Adequate Education Plan legislation.

Musgrove says “shall” constitutes an irrevocable promise that lawmakers made to school children and even if they change the statute going forward, they still owe what was promised and has not been delivered.