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Education is Priority Number One for Democrats in 2015 Legislative Session

Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

JACKSON, Miss.–Getting Mississippi’s kids educated and getting it done well will be the number one issue for Democrats in the 2015 legislative session, set to begin next week at the state capitol, said Bobby Moak, head of the Democratic Caucus.

“It builds jobs for the future. We’ve got to have our children compete,” he said this week on the Gallo Radio Show.

“And I know the political issue, when the you throw more money at it, it goes to administration. Okay, well let’s fix that political issue, but let’s make sure that money is in the classrooms, where you want to see it.”

Moak said one of the focuses will be on perhaps seeing an even bigger increase in pay for teachers, who already received a tiered raise in 2014, which continues this year and next.

“I think we need to do that. We have given it some. But, when you’ve got a child that is gonna see that teacher more than he sees his working mother or working mother and father when he gets home, that teacher is delivering a message to that child. I think we should pay the person who delivers that message.”

Moak said he would be willing to look at vouchers and other school choice issues, like putting more legislative weight behind charter schools.

“I don’t mind talking about any of those issues as long as we give the public schools an opportunity. Now if you spend some money and it fails, okay, let’s look at something else.”

The legislature is not likely to fully-fund MAEP, as the formula is currently interpreted. Republicans control the House and Senate and have put millions more toward K-12 in both the governor’s and the legislature’s budget plans, though.


There is currently a lawsuit headed by former governor Ronnie Musgrove, joined by several school districts, that seeks to force funding of MAEP. That suit may be resolved in early January.

There is also a constitutional amendment on the ballot for voters this November, which would force funding of MAEP, the formula to be interpreted by a Hinds County judge.

Republican lawmakers have said that forcing the state to fully fund schools, based on the MAEP formula, would force funding from other areas, like the state’s colleges.

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