JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - Education funding is again a hot topic for the current Mississippi Legislative session. On March 1, both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate voted to kill the current education funding bill under consideration.
The state's present funding formula has been used for 20 years, yet has only been fully funded twice.
Under the now-defeated bill, many believed that projected funding levels would be less than current law requires, and there was no requirement that funding keep pace with inflation. Many local school district leaders expressed concerns about the proposed funding formula.
To add to the funding confusion, an amendment had been added to the funding bill that would condition education funding on the state Board of Education eliminating exit exams due to the number of students not passing the exams. State education officials argue that we no longer have exit exams.
While students do take end-of-course exams, the scores are no longer tied to a graduation requirement.
According to the national Quality Counts report for 2017, Mississippi earned a grade of D in both student achievement and school spending. Clearly, our state has a long way to go in being nationally competitive, and appropriate funding is a good beginning in driving school improvement and student achievement.
Consider This: The debate (and legislative fight) over school funding has gone on for years. It is past time for our elected leaders to do what is right for the children of our state and properly fund education.