SuperTalk Mississippi

Hearing In Legal Battle Over MAEP Funding Set for the New Year

HINDS COUNTY, Miss. — A January 14 hearing has been set in a lawsuit filed by nearly two dozen school districts who claim Mississippi lawmakers have shortchanged them millions of dollars from the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP).

The suit was filed in Hinds County Chancery Court by former Governor Ronnie Musgrove.   In it, he and plaintiffs ask that all the money is sent to the districts and that the state be forced to never again repeat under funding of MAEP.

The suit is centered on a 2006 law signed by then Governor Haley Barbour, which says after a three-year phase in period, MAEP shall be fully funded.  Overall, school districts have been underfunded by $1.5 billion since the law was approved.

Attorney General Jim Hood maintains the suit is meaningless.  In earlier court documents, he said one Legislature cannot dictate how much funding a future Legislature can appropriate.

The school districts and the state have asked for an immediate ruling, agreeing the facts are straight forward, although the law may not be.

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