JACKSON, MISS– Funding public schools, budget cuts, changing the state’s constitution, formulas; they’re all keywords you’ve heard about Initiative 42. But what does it mean?
Initiative 42 will be on the ballot in November, and will determine how Mississippi public schools are funded. It says that Mississippi will fully fund public schools, and then gives power to a Hinds County judge to see to it that the legislature does what it takes to provide that funding. If following the MAEP formula, that means if you vote for Initiative 42 in November, the school districts in the state will receive nearly $2 billion dollars. In order for the judge to have the power to enforce this initiative, the state’s constitution would have to be changed. If this is what you want, you vote yes.
If you’re opposed to Initiative 42, you won’t be done just by checking no. The following initiative, initiative 42A, provides protections that would keep the constitution the same by keeping the budget-making and lawmaking decisions in the hands of the state legislature. If you’re opposed to initiative 42, and you don’t want to see the constitution change, you’d vote no on Initiative 42, and yes on Initiative 42A.
What’s the big difference? Representative Mark Baker says it’s about your voice in government.
“42 is just a way to move everything from the executive branch and the legislative to the judicial,” says Baker, “if you want all of the education budgets in the state, and all of the individual budgets in the counties and the districts to be controlled by a single judge in a single county that you didn’t vote for, then you need to support 42.”
Baker says that by limiting that power to one judge, the voter loses the power they designated when they elected their representative.
Those who wish to support Initiative 42 will vote “yes” for it in November, those who don’t wish to support Initiative 42 will have to vote “no”, then vote again on initiative 42A. Voting “yes” on Initiative 42A means that adequate funding will take place, but the constitution will not change, and therefore the power to make budgets and laws for education stays within the state legislature.
Find out where lawmakers say the money for fully funding would come from here.