Fourteen Mississippi School Districts Sue over Underfunding

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Jackson, Miss.
Fourteen Mississippi school districts have filed suit against the state, seeking repayment of amounts they say they were illegally shorted by the state's public school funding formula over the last six years.

The districts are Clarksdale, Clay County, Greenville, Hattiesburg, Leake County, Okolona, Prentiss County, Richton, Simpson County, Smith County, Tate County, Wayne County, West Tallahatchie and Wilkinson County.

The suit, filed Thursday in Hinds County Chancery Court, asks a judge to order lawmakers to never again underfund the Mississippi Adequate Educational Program.

The effort is led by former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

State lawmakers have cumulatively underfunded the formula by $1.5 billion since 2009. The districts say they're owed $115 million.

Backers of a separate effort to write a full-funding requirement into the state constitution oppose the suit, saying lawmakers might react angrily and cut funding. They say the suit would give lawyers too much money and argue a constitutional guarantee of future funding is better.


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