Salter: MAEP ‘full funding’ approaches raise skepticism

STARKVILLE — Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove wants Mississippi to sue its way to so-called “full funding” of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), while other well-intentioned public education advocates want voters to approve a ballot referendum that purports to mandate education funding.

Musgrove has filed a lawsuit seeking to force the state to pay millions to 19 state school districts that the former governor claims the state has underfunded based on the MAEP formula.

Another group, called Better Schools, Better Jobs, is pushing a ballot initiative to amend Section 201 of the Mississippi Constitution to require that the state provide and the Legislature fund an “adequate and efficient” public school system.

But both approaches represent significantly flawed approaches to an otherwise noble goal of improving public education in the state by funding a formula that at inception in 1997 was intended to equalize public education funding between the state’s poorer and more affluent school districts.

ClarionLedger
9/17/14