The Mississippi House of Representatives has again failed to increase funding for public education to bring the funding level into compliance with state law.
The House voted 66-53, mostly along political party lines, to approve a $2.1 billion budget for kindergarten through 12th grade, which is $265 million short of the funding required under the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula.
In doing so, the House supported the Republican leadership’s efforts to prevent the money required by law from reaching our public schools.
In the past five years, our public schools have been shortchanged $1.2 billion from the amount required by law. If the governor’s budget proposal is enacted this year, that number will rise to $1.6 billion.
A major increase in school spending will be necessary if Mississippi is to get out of the cellar dwellers in national rankings of state educational systems.
We have grown weary of the excuses trotted out by legislators for failing to move our schools forward.
What is particularly disappointing is the failure of Rep. Margaret Ellis Rogers of New Albany and Rep. Steve Massengill of Hickory Flat to support an increase.
We don’t need puppets in Jackson with their strings being pulled by the Republican leadership voting against the interests of our local public schools.
We expect more from our legislators in north Mississippi. And so do their constituents.