Future of school funding rewrite

Source: MGN
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JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - This is the second year in a row that a rewrite of the school funding formula has been discussed at the State Capitol. But it keeps hitting roadblocks.

Right now, the proposed formula rewrite is dead. But there is a way to get it back on schedule before the 2019 legislative session. Meanwhile, advocates are still pushing back on those changes.

You’ve likely seen several legislative leaders make statements like this over the past several months.

"We've said all along we want to work on a rewrite of the education funding formula," said House Speaker Philip Gunn. "I think there's a better way of doing it. I think we can find a more reliable predictable stream of revenue."

But a procedural motion in the Senate earlier this month effectively killed the bill that would’ve created a new funding formula. That was music to the ears of many advocates.

"A sigh of relief, definitely," said Joyce Helmick, president of the Mississippi Association of Educators. "A lot of rejoicing when it did not happen. The public was not informed and the public did not see exactly what it was that was going on. And it's their responsibility to put that out there and explain."

But wait. There”s still a way the funding formula could get rewritten before next year.

"If they think they can twist enough arms and offer enough deals to change enough votes, we may have a special session where legislators would be asked again to vote on this plan that would be just devastating to public schools," said Nancy Loome, executive director of the Mississippi Parents Campaign.

Special session or not, advocates say they won't stop. They're asking parents and teachers to keep making their voices heard to lawmakers.

"Even without the rewrite, we know there are issues to still deal with with our public schools. Fighting for public education is going to be a continuous battle," said Helmick.

The Senate has a deadline Tuesday to take action on a House appropriations bill. That bill will determine the amount that K-12 schools get for the next fiscal year.