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School Funding Major Issue On Ballot

Mississippi voters will decide on a major school funding issue Nov. 3 after years of heated debate over exactly how much money schools should receive to educate children.

Educators, advocates and parents have long pushed for the Legislature to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the formula that stipulates the amount of money each school district needs to give its students an adequate education each year.

As it stands now in Mississippi, the state constitution only requires the Legislature to provide a “free” system of public schools, with no mention of the quality of that education. And despite current law requiring full funding of MAEP, lawmakers have fully funded the formula only twice since 1997.

Enter Initiative 42, the citizen-sponsored ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to put more teeth into the state’s requirements around school funding and quality of education.