Mississippi's Republican leaders are officially calling on the rank and file to vote down Initiative 42. The referendum would require lawmakers fully fund Mississippi public schools. Joe Nosef the state's GOP Chairman says, if "42" passes, it opens the door for lawsuits to challenge education funding. He says that would leave funding decisions up to judges.
"Nobody is of the belief that education doesn't need to be funded and it's the top priority of most people. But it certainly doesn't mean it needs to be done in a courtroom," said Nosef.
Nosef contends it could lead to cutting the budgets of state agencies, a claim supporters of "42" call a scare tactic.
"There's not an unlimited amount of money. I think that a scare tactic, that's kinda like me telling my my daughter, giving her $100 for the Ole' Miss weekend and telling her that's it. That's not a scare tactic. That's true," said Nosef.
Sissy Lynn of Madison County was named parent of the year by the Mississippi Department of Education. She has a 4th and 6th grader in public schools and volunteers with the 42 For Better Schools Campaign. The Republican says she's disappointed in the party's stance. She says the Mississippi Adequate Education Program requires that legislators fully fund education, they can, but they won't.
"Every year the General Fund has been growing, so they're going to take a percentage of that to apply toward fully funding MAEP. So, the money's there," said Lynn.
42 for Better Schools filed a lawsuit this week to have the full text of the referendum, including the seven-year phase-in and revenue statement on the November 3rd ballot.