Superintendents Say Funding Gap Pinches Schools

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Jackson, Miss.

School superintendents say that because Mississippi isn't fully funding its education formula, their districts have fewer classroom aides, larger class sizes, outdated computers and aging buses.

The Center for Education Innovation released a report Thursday calling attention to what districts say are real-world consequences of not enough money.

The Mississippi Adequate Education Program calculates state aid to local districts. Lawmakers have only fulfilled the formula's demands twice since it was enacted in 1997. Over the last six years, appropriations have fallen more than $1.25 billion short.

For the 2015 budget, the formula calls for $2.35 billion. But lawmakers recommended $2.13 billion, leaving a $215 million gap.

House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson, a Poplarville Republican, says he hopes to increase the initial recommendation, but says he's concerned about growing administrative costs.