Education advocates in Mississippi are voicing their opinions about a proposed plan to revamp the state's education funding formula and passions are running high.
"This is not transparent. This is not good government,"
Education advocates express their frustration with lawmakers over providing only one, one-hour meeting to share their opinions about revamping Mississippi's Adequate Education Program-the formula used to fund public schools. It's standing room only at the capitol, where Representatives from EdBuild, the firm hired by legislators to evaluate MAEP take notes. Lauren Stubblefield of Utica, says MAEP has been fully funded twice in 19 years, it's not rocket science.
"The formula as it stands were it to be fully funded consecutively and consistently for several years would be a much better indicator of whether or not it needed to be change," said Stubblefield.
Aisha Carson of Jackson, says the key is fully funding education regardless of the formula used.
"All of these conversations are not even important because at the end of the day they can make a decision to either fully fund or not fully fund," said Carson.
Advocates say equity funding for all school districts is critical. They urged lawmakers and Edbuild reps. to visit schools, talk to teachers and parents. Russ Latino with Americans for Prosperity says there's only so much money to go around.
"Part of the problem is every single agency in the state of Mississippi feels underfunded," said Latino.
Rebecca Sibilia, CEO of EdBuild says there are elements of MAEP that need upgrading.
"The workforce needs are changing. That technology is increasing at a rapid pace. Technology needs in school. So,1997 those kinds of costs weren't even considered," said Sibilia.
She says they will incorporate the comments into their evaluation. A report is expected from EdBuild by the end of the year.
People who would like to share their opinions about the issue with lawmakers can email:firstname.lastname@example.org