Legislators are getting a sneak peek at some ideas that could lead to a new education funding formula for the state. MPB's Ezra Wall has more.
A completely student-based education funding model. That's what EdBuild CEO Rebecca Sibilia says her organization will recommend for Mississippi. The education nonprofit has been hired to make funding recommendations to the state legislature. Sibilia says the current funding model doesn't work.
"Right now students - gifted students, students that are enrolled in vocational schools - they are not funded based on their specific learning needs. They are funded based on a calculation of teacher units that's pegged to a specific salary in a specific area," says Sibilia. "We believe that a student that has autism in one part of the state needs the same resources as a student with autism in another part of the state."
Sibilia made her comments at a joint meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees. House Education Chair, Republican John Moore of Brandon says the current funding model needs to be replaced.
"It's old - 20 years old. It needs to be examined. The objective of the leadership in the House and the Senate is, we want a higher percentage of our dollars going to where they receive the benefit, and that's in the classroom," says Moore.
Democratic Representative Hob Bryan of Amory couldn't disagree more.
"I think anyone who's concerned about the future of public education in Mississippi should absolutely be terrified. The problem is not the formula. There has yet to be any serious discussion of a flaw with the existing formula," says Bryan.
EdBuild's Rebecca Sibilia says she will deliver her recommendation to the legislature by the end of this calendar year.
MPB's Mark Rigsby contributed to this report.