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Public invited to weigh in on school funding

Jackson, MS– Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn announced Monday that Mississippians can offer input to lawmakers as they examine school funding through a new e-mail address.

Mississippians can send ideas regarding school funding to schoolfinance@ls.ms.gov

The Legislature is working with the nonprofit EdBuild to examine the funding formula for public schools known as the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP. This formula comprises more than $2.2 billion of the state’s annual budget — the single largest expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

EdBuild will begin their work and participate in public meetings to discuss ways school funding can target needs for special education, career technology, gifted students and low-income students. Public meetings will be announced at a later date.

According to research by EdBuild, 37 states use a student-based funding formula. However, Mississippi’s funding program is focused more on resources not students.

The effort to invest more tax dollars into the classroom builds on legislative efforts to raise student achievement. Under Republican leadership, more than $45 million has been directed to efforts to improve reading skills, teacher salaries have increased with starting teacher pay being among the highest among neighboring states, and students with special needs can use scholarships to fund programs that meet their educational needs.

As a result graduation rates have increased, reading skills have improved and fourth grade students are performing better in reading and math as compared to their peers nationally.

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