Lawmakers meeting with new education funding consultant

Lawmakers meeting with new education funding consultant

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi lawmakers on both the House and Senate education committees will meet Thursday with the firm hired to revamp the state's public education funding formula.

"I'm excited to get public input about what direction we need to go," Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. "These are going to be legislators. We're going to have more public meetings in the coming months because we want to hear what do superintendents think? What do administrators think? What do teachers think? And perhaps most importantly, what do parents think we ought to be focused on? That's important. It's going to be a very participatory process."

Earlier this month, lawmakers voted hire nonprofit EdBuild to evaluate how Mississippi fund public schools known as the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP.

"I think it was very important we reevaluate the funding formula," Reeves said. "When the formula was originally passed, it was over 20 years ago. It was before we had a computer in every classroom. Well, now kids are learning on iPads and tablets and other devices that were not even thought of when the original formula came into being. It's just natural that we'd make a decision."

According the original new release from the legislature, EdBuild's initial research shows "Mississippi's funding program is focused more on resources not students."

"We spend, as a state, over $4 billion on K-12 education each year," Reeves said. "We need to ensure that the formula is actually meeting our needs. It has to be a formula that's based upon equitable funding, so that we distribute assets all across our state, distribute dollars all across our state. We have a really simple belief when it comes to public education. We believe that it should not matter what a kid's zip code is nor should it matter what a kid's mom and dad do or in some instances don't do for a living. Every kid in our state deserves an opportunity for success."