JACKSON, MISS– There still is no report of recommendations from EdBuild, the organization hired to evaluate the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, but there is one option that may be considered as an alternative to the current formula, according to the state superintendent.
“I know that they’ve been looking at the Weighted Student Formula idea,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said. “So I’m anxious to see what they’re recommendations are going to be.”
The Weighted Student Formula (WSF) bases funding off of the number of students enrolled and the unique characteristics of those student. With WSF, a specific dollar amount is allocated to educate each student enrolled. Additional money is given to educate students with identified characteristics that impact their learning and achievement such as those who are considered gifted or talented, the economically challenged, or those who are not proficient in English.
WSF is currently used by the Hawaii State Department of Education. The budget for the department of education there is based off pre-legislative session budget requests for the formula as a whole.
The MAEP formula allocation is figured by taking the average daily attendance plus high growth, multiplying that by the base student cost, adding that to the at-risk allowance, and then subtracting the amount of local contribution in addition to the hold harmless guarantee.
The base student cost is evaluated by considering the following aspects of the budget:
- Instruction – teachers per 1,000 students
- Administration – administrator to staff ratio
- Maintenance and Operations–Spending per 100,000 square feet; and maintenance staff per 100,000 square feet
- Ancillary – Librarians and Counselors per 1,000 students
The average cost of the four areas are added together to obtain the base student cost amount.
This formula, while the cost variables are to be considered every four years, has been in place for 20 years.
EdBuild was hired to make recommendations for the formula, but the report, which was due by the end of 2016, has yet to be submitted. Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden said change could be coming.
“We’re not playing games with this,” said Snowden. “We don’t have the recommendation yet and a deadline is coming up.”
The deadline is to file bills, but Snowden said that a bill could be filed that would create more time for the report and allow the legislature to take up the matter once the report has been submitted.
“I expect the report within a week to ten days,” Snowden said. “I think we’re going to hear from EdBuild in a week or two.”