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Miss. May See Short Fall In Education Funding In 2014

By Paul Boger | Published 30 Dec 2013 08:30am | comments
Mississippi's Adequate Education Program may once again see a short fall in funding this upcoming fiscal year. MPB's Paul Boger reports state education officials are trying to persuade legislators to ramp-up the programs budget. 
When the MAEP was passed in 1997, it was designed to ensure an adequate education for every Mississippi child -- whether they lived in a “wealthy” community or a “poor” one. But since it was created, the program has only been fully funded twice -- in 2003 and 2007.
This year is no exception, when the Department of Education asked for a 308 million dollar increase in funding for the upcoming fiscal year the Joint Legislative Budget Committee instead recommended that the legislature keep the program's budget at current levels. 
New State Superintendent Carey Wright says the state will not be able to address it's problems in education without adequate funding.
"MAEP needs to be fully funded." said Wright. "I mean that's what the legislation intended, and that has not been happening. I think that if you're really going to start addressing key areas in the educational system in Mississippi it's going to require more funding than it is currently receiving. You're not going to get where you need to get with level funding.
However, House Education Committee Chair John Moore believes the program has nothing to worry about.
"By the end of the session we are anticipating many changes in the budget." said Moore. We did just like we did just what we did for the last three years, we established a conservative budget with the expectation that we will have significant growth by the end of the session. Well have surprises at the end on the other end just like we did the last two years prior.
Despite reassurances from Rep. Moore, Wright believes there may be other ways to appropriate money for her department.
"I've been trying to reach out to folks in various folks in the legislature to really talk about how we could work together to get this done." said Wright. "I think that they have been targeting already, money for that, if that's a preferable way to go about it. In terms of targeting money for initiatives, I hope we can work together to do just that."
Since 2007, the state funding for MAEP has fallen nearly one point five billion dollars short of full funding. 




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