Former Governor Ronnie Musgrove is representing 21 school districts in a fight for funding education. MPB's Alexis Ware reports, both sides argued before the State Supreme Court Wednesday.
Governor Musgrove is appealing a lower court ruling denying back-payment of 236 million dollars in education funding. He says the state should have to make up the shortfall from the years 2010 to 2015 as part of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. He says the legislature is responsible for funding free public school.
"When the people of Mississippi through a constitutional amendment amended the constitution and made our public schools a mandatory obligation of the state of Mississippi, then that strengthened our public schools and it also mandated that the legislature establish and fully fund."
The ruling would also mandate the legislature to never under fund MAEP again.
In defending the state, Assistant Attorney General Justin Matheny says the law requiring full funding can't actually force lawmakers to obey. He says the legislature from one year cannot dictate spending of the legislature from the next year.
"This is the 2006 legislature purporting to speak directly to future legislators and tell them that you only have one option, you have to propriate exactly what MDE says is the product of the MAEP estimation formula that year."
Justices could rule on the case between now and November.