State Auditor Shad White has verified the preliminary cost calculation of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program for Fiscal Year 2020. The education funding formula is generated by the Mississippi Department of Education and each year the office of the State Auditor is required to review the MDE’s cost calculation of the formula. This year the Auditor’s office verified the accuracy of the projected cost and Governor Phil Bryant, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, and Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives Philip Gunn have been notified by letter.
In addition, the State Auditor’s office has also released a performance review of school attendance data and policies. The review addresses discrepancies in absence records and recommends that the Mississippi Department of Education complete an in-depth study of current attendance standards.
“My office is going to continue to be vigilant in making sure education money is spent properly,” said State Auditor Shad White. “One part of doing that is determining whether attendance counts are accurate. Those counts are a key part of the education funding formula. Our research shows that some schools need to improve their practices on counting students, particularly when it comes to training substitute teachers on taking attendance. But on another level, our report is encouraging. We found a few instances of double counting students, for example. Education is a large part of our state’s budget and is important to me personally—I’m a product of public schools and the son and grandson of public school teachers—so this will not be the end of our work on our schools.”