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Delta Residents Are Calling For Full MAEP Funding

By Paul Boger | Published 21 Jan 2014 08:30am | comments
Parents and teachers from the Mississippi Delta are calling on lawmakers to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. MPB's Paul Boger reports advocates believe funding shortfalls have had negative affect on the state's poorest schools.
 
Standing on the steps of the Capitol yesterday, students, teachers, and parents from the Mississippi Delta waved signs and yelled chants hoping to catch the attention of lawmakers. Their message was simple, fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. 
 
Barbara Brooks is with the Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative -- the group responsible for the rally. She says a quality education should be the state's top priority. 
 
"Quality education accessible to all children regardless of race, class, status, special need and location of residence is essential to the foundation of a healthy and just society."
 
Students from the Delta also feel like their schools are being overlooked. Destiny Keyes graduated from Gentry High School in Indianola. She says a lack of school funding left her ill prepared for college.
 
"When I got to college I was far from prepared." said Keyes. "There were so many things that I had to teach myself that I didn't get a chance to learn whil I was in high school. When students make that transition from high school to college they shouldn't have to teach themselves everything that they should have gotten during their high school years because of a lack of funding and a lack of resources.
 
Since the formula was created in 1997, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program has only been fully funded twice -- in 2003 and 2007. Republican lawmaker Terry Brown who is President Pro Tem of the Senate. He calls  the program a failure. 
 
"Formulas, one year it fits they other it don't." said Brown. It's kind of a eschewed formula so I'm in favor of doing away with it and just coming in with honest budget request and let's see if we can fund it.
 
The Mississippi Department of Education has asked for a 308 million dollar increase in funding for MAEP for the upcoming fiscal year.

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