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Federal school funding program won’t be good for all schools

There are winners and losers in the the new state school funding formula being considered by lawmakers.

The altered formula for K-12 school funding would provide a base student cost of $4,800, an amount allocated to educate a student with no special requirements. It would then add extra per-student amounts proposed for special education students, gifted students, high school students and those learning English. Extremely rural districts also get an extra bump, The Associated Press reported.

Statewide, not counting charter schools and agricultural high schools, state aid would rise $109 million. That’s 5 percent, or $232 per student.

Locally, the Brookhaven School District would receive $13,166,024 in state funding, a loss of $41 per student. The Lincoln County School District would get $16,187,728, an increase of $278 per student. Copiah County would receive $14,140,474, an increase of $308 per student. The Lawrence County district would get $10,115,636, an increase of $104.

While the proposal being considered in the House would boost funding, it would be $157 million less than the current formula is recommending for next year.

Of the state’s 142 conventional school districts, 75 percent would get more money than today, while 25 percent would lose money. The biggest losers, on a per-student basis, would be the Montgomery County, Moss Point and West Bolivar school districts. The biggest gainers per student would be Claiborne County, Humphreys County and Benton County, all aided by the 10 percent proposed bump to rural districts. Mississippi’s largest district, DeSoto County, would be the largest overall gainer and among the top per-capita gainers, AP reported.

Given the funding situation at all schools in the state, reducing state aid at any district is likely to be met with resistance, and for good reason. Though a loss of $41 per student does not sound like much, it’s more than $100,000 total for the Brookhaven School District. That is a significant amount of money that will have to be made up by local tax dollars. We’re guessing Brookhaven residents will not be happy about that.