The Mississippi Adequate Education Program was created in 1997 to address low student achievement and inequity amongst our schools. The program was designed to bridge the gap in funding between school districts, specifically in communities with a low tax base who are unable to financially supplement their children’s education like more affluent communities. MAEP, along with the Mississippi Accountability System, was carefully crafted by state legislators, education experts, and consultants and subsequently passed through our state legislature even over a governor’s veto. But, the Legislature has not kept its promise – MAEP has been fully funded only two times since then. And now, the Legislature continues to cut and cut the funding so that our schools are deeply behind in the support they need for our children to succeed.
Over the past six years, our public schools have lost $1.5 billion due to underfunding by the Mississippi Legislature.
Our children cannot be ready for good jobs without a good education. Our state cannot support good jobs without a good workforce. We must make sure our children and our businesses have that chance.
The initiative will seek 25 percent of increased revenues when our state’s General Fund grows. If the General Fund does not grow over the prior year, MAEP would not receive an increase for that fiscal year.
Mississippi has NEVER thrown money at education. Our schools have NEVER been funded at the level they need. Our schools have been routinely underfunded since MAEP was created, leaving school districts to try and meet millions of dollars worth of unmet need. The Better Schools, Better Jobs Initiative will require the Legislature to do what it promised in 1997, to provide adequate funds for our children to succeed. That’s all.
The CEOs of the Business Roundtable recently declared, “A skilled, prepared workforce is the cornerstone of economic competitiveness. A nation’s capacity to develop a skilled, prepared workforce is inextricably linked to the quality of its education system. It is time to take action…” Beacon Hill Institute’s 10th annual State Competitiveness Report ranks Mississippi 50th in having an educated workforce. Despite our having one of the most “business friendly” tax and regulation structures, the report cites Mississippi as an example of a “highly uncompetitive state” because we have failed to produce a well-educated workforce.