It's week two of the 2017 legislative session, and Lieutenant Governor is talking about his top priorities. One of them is education.
A nearly 11 percent up-tick in Mississippi's graduation rate and significant gains in 4th grade reading and math prove the state is headed in the right direction, according to Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves. He talked about the issue at the Stennis Capitol Press Forum, in Jackson. Reeves, a Republican, believes reforms like K-3 reading coaches is working. He says his focus is on getting more money to the classrooms. Reeves is awaiting a report from Ed Build, a firm, reviewing Mississippi's Adequate Education Program-a funding formula that's been in place since 1997.
"It's time to have a formula that support schools for the 21st Century not for the 1900's. The thing that I've been most encouraged about is that the vast majority of Mississippians agree," said Reeves.
The study was expected at the start of the legislative session. Reeves says it should be completed in a week or so. Democratic Senator David Blount of Jackson, says the current formula hasn't been given a chance. It's only been fully funded twice since it's inception.
"I'm always happy to listen to get ideas but if we're going to start messing with the formula we need to involve parents, teachers, principals and not just sit around and wait for some out of state group to send a report that's already late," said Blount.
Reeves says Ed Build has sought input from stakeholders, including students, teachers and parents. He adds lawmakers will rewrite the formula during the session. The lieutenant governor also talked about working to fund infrastructure projects like road and bridges along with campaign finance reform.