Democrats want to delay education funding re-write

Jackson, Miss. (WJTV) -- Senate and House Democrats hope to halt an education funding formula from passing this session.

Senator Hob Bryan said Tuesday that public schools stand to lose $300 million dollars by 2025 under the proposed Uniform Per Student Funding Formula.

The proposed formula, crafted by Republican House leaders, is based on a report from EdBuild.

"I don't know if the house members knew what they were voting for," says Senator Bryan. "There's simply no way anyone can understand a 350 page bill completely rewriting the funding formula for public education in a week."
 
Senator Bryan says there's not enough time left this legislative session for a re-write and the funding formula should be held over until next year so there's more time for public input.

"We developed the existing law over years," says Bryan. "We had meetings hour after hour after hour. The actual law for the formula was done in the public."
 
Gray Tollison, Senate Education Chair, disagrees, "Here's a report that's been available for over a year. And people are welcome to download that from the Mississippi legislative website and read through it because essentially what the house bill does is take portions of this report and puts it into the legislation."
 

House Bill 957 has promised an increase in funding by $107 million from this year after a 7 year phase in. But it would still be less than what is currently required under the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

Joyce Helmick with the Mississippi Association of Educators says MAE opposes the legislation, "The association opposes any legislation that takes away funds from our public schools. We know that we've been underfunded for many years. We know what damage that's done to our public schools."

Despite being sent to the Senate last month, House Bill 957 has not been assigned to a committee. Laura Hipp in Lt. Governor Tate Reeve's office says the legislation will "be reviewed as we move through the process in accordance with legislative deadlines."

 


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