Despite efforts to revamp Mississippi public education funding formula the majority of legislators decided to stick with the current Mississippi Adequate Education Program, fearing a loss of overall school funding. Next year K-12 funding increases by $12.8 million. That's an increase of $3 million for MAEP over last year and $2.5 million more for Pre-K. House Republican Rob Roberson is Vice Chair of the Education Committee.
"There was a step increase so our teachers could get their pay raises. I know there were some increases based on health insurance and things like that that went up. When its all said and one you're looking at level funding plus," said Roberson.
Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves recently talked about the importance of the additional $2.5 million for Pre-K.
"If you talk to school districts that have early learning collaboratives. They just praise the difference between kindergarten readiness of those kids," said Reeves.
A school recognition program that rewards teachers for improvements in student achievement will see a bump in funding along with an additional $159,000 for Vocational Technical Education. Nancy Loome with the Parent's Campaign is pleased schools are seeing an increased but she says it's still below $240 million needed to fully funding MAEP.
"Even if we fully fund the MAEP. We will still be funding our school districts about $1,000 per student less than what our neighboring states provide," said Loome.
Lawmakers say they're going to seek more input from schools districts about changing the funding formula. Some say new changes could come after next year's elections.