OPINION: Children deserve well-funded public schools

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By Nsombi Lambright-Haynes

President, One Voice

Two competing bills aimed at school funding have passed through the legislature, signaling a critical moment in educational policy in Mississippi. However, the question remains: what will it take for legislators to ensure total funding for schools in Mississippi?

Last week, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed the “Investing in the Needs of Students to Prioritize, Impact and Reform Education” (INSPIRE) Act, a bill that would change the state’s funding formula for public K-12 education. On the other hand, the Mississippi Senate passed Senate Bill 2332, a bill to revise the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), the state’s current funding formula. 

One big difference between the two bills revolves around an objective formula. Broadly, House Bill 1453 empowers lawmakers to assess the annual funding required for total school funding. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 2332 maintains an objective funding formula to determine base school funding levels from the legislature. Currently, MAEP’s objective formula is a law-based calculation determining the minimum amount needed to provide each student an “adequate” education in the state. 

At One Voice, we believe every student should have access to schools with the resources, opportunities, and support that make academic success possible and create strong ties among families, students, schools, and communities. We stand with education advocacy groups’ support of a funding formula that contains an objective formula for per-student base cost, an inflation factor, additional needs-based funding such as poverty, and an equity component.

Mississippi’s children deserve well-funded public schools, and based on past results, adequate school funding yields better student achievement. Overall, investing in public education is key to addressing persistent poverty and ensuring a better future for Mississippi.  

Check and see how your legislator voted on HB1453 here: https://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2024/pdf/votes/house/0650039.pdf

Check to see how your legislator voted on SB 2332 here: https://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2024/pdf/votes/senate/0660018.pdf

To learn more about education policy in Mississippi, check out our Protecting Public Schools (https://onevoicems.org/protecting-public-schools/) and Supporting Public Schools (https://onevoicems.org/support-public-schools-toolkit/) toolkits. 

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OPINION: Children deserve well-funded public schools

By Jackson Advocate News Service
March 18, 2024