PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi's public schools were underfunded by the legislature once again this year, but there's an effort to make sure that doesn't happen again.
Better Schools, Better Jobs is a ballot initiative that seeks to amend the state constitution in order to require the legislature to adequately fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP).
Volunteers have been conducting signature drives across the state in order to get more than 100,000 signatures from registered voters for an October 1 filing deadline. After that, a spot on the 2015 general election ballot will be reserved to allow voters to choose whether they believe the state should be required to provide support for MAEP.
"It's amazing that we have to go to the extent of getting a constitutional amendment to get the legislature to follow the law," said volunteer Dan Kibodeaux.
Kibodeaux's children are a product of Mississippi public schools, and he said he is obligated to future generations to ensure their schools receive the funding needed for a quality education.
Public schools in Mississippi were underfunded by a total of six billion dollars over the past six years. MAEP has only been fully funded twice since its implementation in 1997.
For more information on the initiative, visit http://www.betterms.org/