State takes step to fix education funding

Published 10:26 am Thursday, October 13, 2016

The state Legislature rightly gets criticized for its handling of public education funding. Since MAEP was passed into law in 1997, the funding formula has only been “fully funded” twice.

The lack of full funding has been a source of partisan bickering for years. Some blame the state’s spot at the bottom of most academic performance lists on a lack of funding.

But on Tuesday state leaders took an unexpected step toward revamping the formula.

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The House Management and Senate Rules committees voted to hire nonprofit EdBuild to examine the funding formula for public schools known as the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP, according to a press release.

“Any formula that calls for significant increases in administrative expenses while decreasing instructional spending should be re-evaluated,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “In an era of apps and iPads, Mississippi students deserve school funding based on their classroom needs rather than inflated administrative offices.”

EdBuild will be paid up to $125,000 in state dollars to help revamp the formula.

The unexpected move could lead to a better funding formula for the state’s students. It could also have the opposite effect.

The key to this process will be transparency. If the public is allowed to weigh in on any changes, the formula revamp has a chance to be successful.

The Legislature deserves some credit for thinking outside the box by partnering with EdBuild. But until the results of the formula makeover are in, we will remain skeptical while also hoping for the best.