Mississippians are voicing their opinion on a proposed constitutional amendment that would require lawmakers to fully fund the state’s education system.
Nearly 200 people gathered in a conference room at Jackson State University’s E-Center last night, to take part in a public hearing over ballot initiative 42 and its legislative alternative.
The aim of the hearing was to inform voters on the pros and cons of the initiative, but a vast majority of the participants like Jarrius Adams, a recent graduate from Hattiesburg Schools, voiced his support for the proposal.
“Only initiative 42 will hold our lawmakers accountable to fulfill their promise to make education funding a priority,” Adams says. “The politicians in Jackson will tel you that throwing more money at public schools will not solve the problem. They’ve never given their own plan a chance to succeed. It’s like never putting gas in your car and then complaining that it won’t run.”
Under the proposed constitutional amendment, lawmakers would be required to fully fund the state’s public education system. The alternative, drafted by lawmakers earlier this year, guarantees the state will maintain “effective” public schools.
Jackson attorney Russ Latino opposes the initiative. He say it would take local control of schools from elected officials and give it to the courts.
“It goes way beyond funding and the potential for a judge to look at something as nebulous as adequate and efficient, in terms of language, and say ‘Well, I think this curriculum is going to be adequate and efficient for the state, or I think the schools in meridian aren’t operating in an adequate and efficient manner,” says Latino. “The disconnect is whether or not what 42 actually does is what people think it does.”
Last nights forum was the first of eight to be held across the state over the next month. Tomorrow the forum will move to Hernando and Tupelo on Monday.