MISSISSIPPIANS SAY PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING NEEDS TO BE A HIGHE

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MISSISSIPPIANS SAY PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING NEEDS TO BE A HIGHER PRIORITY
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MPB News

Education funding in Mississippi needs to be a higher priority according to a recent survey. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports.

Nathan Shrader is a political science professor at Millsaps College in Jackson. He says Mississippians across party lines agree public school funding is too low. That's according to the quarterly State of the State Survey from Millsaps College and Chism Strategies.

"By an 83 percent margin, Democrats said that school funding is too low," said Shrader. "But then also by roughly 45 or 50 percent margin, Republicans are telling us the same thing and Independents at 60 some percent. So the school funding issue in terms of voters perceiving that school funding is too low rather than just about right or too high cuts across party lines."

Joyce Helmick, president of the Mississippi Association of Educators, says under-funding of Mississippi's public schools has had an impact on students.

"Many of our classrooms do not have the proper teacher, the certified teacher, the well-prepared teacher," said Helmick. "We're using substitutes. We're using teachers that are emergency certified."

Helmick says teachers should be treated with respect including compensation.

"With that honor and respect comes the proof that they are honored and respected through pay raises and through funding for their classrooms as well as fully funding for everything else that they need to help their students," said Helmick.

The formula that determines Mississippi's public education system has been fully funded twice in 20 years.