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MAEP full funding should trump election-year politics

The approval last week by the Senate Appropriations Committee tofully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program brings withit a sigh of relief from school districts across the state.

Thursday’s approval of the state education budget allows thecontroversial funding measure to move to the full Senate. Anapproval would mean the funding bill will move to conferencecommittee where House and Senate members will iron out differencesbetween the two bills with the final step a signature for Gov.Haley Barbour.

One might remember the controversy during budget hearings inOctober when disagreement between members over the funding formularesulted in a stalemate and the Legislature beginning the currentsession without a fiscal budget for the first time is statehistory.

What a difference an election year makes. The last timelegislators agreed to fully fund the MAEP formula was in 2003 -also an election year. It is a shame that it takes the threat ofvoter retaliation to force legislators to fully fund a program ofsuch importance to all of Mississippi.