Education advocates in Mississippi are gearing up to take their fight for an adequate funding amendment for public schools to the 2015 legislature.
The group Better Schools, Better Jobs has already completed the first step in placing the proposed amendment on the 2015 general election ballot. If it passes it would force lawmakers to fund Mississippi's public schools in a “adequate and efficient manner.” Yet, before the proposal will be placed on the ballot, lawmakers could draft their own competing version of the amendment. Patsy Brumfield is with Better Schools, Better Jobs.
"The legislature has had 17 years since the passage of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program to pass any improvement that it might see," says Brumfield. "We believe that's not going to happen and that we need this constitutional amendment to ensure that the legislature will fully fund what it's promised for K-12."
Lawmakers have not fully funded public schools since 2008, leaving districts nearly one-point-five billion dollars under-funded. Ray Morgigno is the Superintendent of the Pearl School district. He says the lack of funds has left districts struggling to keep up with things like technology.
"Computers are much more expensive than chalkboards and so the increase in demands as we go to new testing requirements and so forth put a stretch on school districts budgets," Morgigno says. "We just want to be able to provide the best for our kids."
The Chair of the House Education Committee says lawmakers are still considering whether they will propose their own funding amendment for public education during next year's session.