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Education funding gap could be criminal

Across the years, lawmakers have failed to adequately fund education in this state, and as a result, we all have suffered by seeing overall student classroom performance fall in many districts that lacked the money required to hire the staff needed to properly get the job done.

Just days ago, I joined in a bipartisan vote to provide a critically needed $60 million to the education budget that Senate leadership had proposed.

That should not have been the case.

The Republican leadership of this state wants to provide level funding for MAEP, whose legal formula shows the state is underfunding MAEP by about $265 million.

Violation of any other law is illegal and has dire consequences. The state is basically breaking the law by underfunding MAEP.

The Kansas Supreme Court recently found that state in violation of law for underfunding the educational system by following the whims of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who wanted to continue shortchanging education.

We will look at the Kansas decision as we decide whether, we the members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, should file suit against the state of Mississippi to have public education properly funded.


District 38 Sen. Kelvin E. Butler

Mississippi Senate Labor Committee chairman