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Special Session to Revamp Funding Public Education Possible
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Elementary School in Jackson
Associated Press

A special session maybe in the works to pass a new funding formula for Mississippi public education. 

Mississippi's Republican leadership missed last week's deadline to submit a bill to revamp the state's current public education funding formula, but some lawmakers say they're committed to passing a plan. Republican John Moore of Brandon, chairs the House Education Committee.

"The leadership on both ends said okay, well let's just stop and if we can make something happen before the end of the session and come together on the changes that need to be made, and the governor has already agreed he would call us into a special session within the session," said Moore. 

Moore says having a special session within the session won't cost taxpayers additional money. Republicans support using recommendations provided by EdBuild, the consulting firm hired to review the current funding formula. Senator Gray Tollison of Oxford, says EdBuild allocates education funding based on student need, such as those who are gifted or have learning impairments. 

"It's just a matter of translating that into legislation which we're working on. But it's a matter also of trying to figure out how much money we can put into the formula and where the base student costs will be ultimately," said Tollison.

Critics say revamping the funding formula is too rushed and the recommendations deserve a thorough review with input from communities and educators. House Democrat John Hines of Greenville, believes the current formula, Mississippi Adequate Education Program, wasn't given a chance to succeed because it's only been fully funded twice in 19 years.  

"I would love to see us fully fund it for three or four years and look at the data and see is it a good formula or is it not. But we need to put the money to the paper and let's see what happens on the other side," said Hines.

Representative John Moore says MAEP has a built in increase that makes fully funding the formula too costly.