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Public schools get budgets, see 1.6% cut

Public schools in Mississippi now have their budgets for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Mississippi Adequate Education Program is a law providing a formula designed to ensure an adequate education for every child in the state, and providing schools the resources necessary for adequate student achievement.

Overall, MAEP funding is $37 million less than one year ago — a 1.6% cut, and $250 million less than what state law says is adequate to provide the state’s children with a quality education. Other agency budgets decreased 3-5% from the previous year, due to pandemic-induced downturn in the economy.

While most school districts’ budgets saw a year-over-year reduction, a few got a state funding increase due to gains in enrollment or reductions in their required local contribution.

Legislative leaders have said that they intend to make school funding a priority over the next three years in order to close the gaping hole between what is adequate and what the state actually provides our public schools. Our neighboring states (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee) outspend Mississippi by more than $1,000 per student, and decades of chronic underfunding left Mississippi’s public schools without the technological capacity and basic infrastructure they needed to respond well to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full funding for the Brookhaven Public School District — the amount required by law — is $14,812,239. The actual amount allocated to BSD for FY2021 per House Bill 1700 is $13,350,046 — a difference of $116,585 from the previous year and $1.46 million below full funding.

Full funding for the Lincoln County Public School District is $16,749,468. The actual amount allocated to LCSD for FY2021 per HB1700 is $15,096,041 — a difference of $440,660 from the previous year and $1.65 million below full funding.

Full funding for the Lawrence County Public School District is $10,803,010. The actual amount allocated to Lawrence County for FY2021 per HB1700 is $9,736,589 — a difference of $344,844 from the previous year and $1.06 million below full funding.

For the full list of MAEP funding for FY2021, visit https://tpcref.org/wp-content/uploads/PERDIST-MAEP_FY09-FY21.pdf