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keep the
PROMISE

Our children deserve good schools. Good schools require full funding .

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keep the
PROMISE

Our children deserve good schools. Good schools require full funding .

rotator1

keep the
PROMISE

Our children deserve good schools. Good schools require full funding .

What is the purpose of Better Schools, Better Jobs?
Mississippi has the worst record of any state in student achievement and in per-student financial support. Those two facts speak for themselves: We have failed to support our schools. Over the last six years, underfunding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program has resulted in a $1.5 billion shortfall in funding for the education of our children. The consequences of this are numerous, from low educational attainment to an inability to attract family-sustaining jobs to our state.  If Mississippi does not find the resources to invest in our state’s education now, the economic potential of Mississippi will be capped later. Better Schools, Better Jobs aims to help pass a Constitutional amendment to require the Legislature to fully fund our children’s education without raising taxes.  Our mission is to ensure that each child in Mississippi receives the adequate funding needed to provide a quality education.
Why do we need a public vote on school funding, I thought the Legislature did that in 1997?

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.

Doesn’t Mississippi already spend over 60 percent of the state’s total budget on education?
K-12 education funding comes from the General Fund, which is only part of the state’s total tax revenue. Approximately 55 percent of Mississippi’s taxes and fees is devoted to special funds, leaving the other 45 percent for the state’s General Fund appropriation. This means, in actuality, education takes up approximately 23 percent of the state’s budget. With federal funds included, that figure drops further to 16.5 percent of the state’s total budget.
Will the new amendment raise my taxes?

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.

Why the Ballot Initiative matters? What is the Legislature’s broken Promise?

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.

How do I know the Legislature won’t just cut education funds somewhere else?
Because this is a Constitutional amendment. The Legislature cannot avoid the funding requirement or it would face court action. Passage of the amendment will ensure that education funding for adequate, efficient schools is protected.
What if our economy does not grow? Will MAEP funds still be increased?
No, that is the promise of Better Schools, Better Jobs. School funding will come only when we have General Fund increases. It will not cut into other agencies’ budgets in lean years. 
How do I know this new funding will help our children get good jobs when they graduate from high school?
Passage of this amendment will mean continued adequate funds to our local school districts, which then will have the money to expand what they offer our children – new courses, computer labs, etc. to give them the skills they don’t get now. 
Why is new funding important for business growth?

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.

How can I be part of Better Schools, Better Jobs?

• Call us at (769) 524-6818

• Sign up at www.betterms.org

• Follow us on Twitter @BetterMS or Facebook

 

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  • K_12_funding_graphic

    We must stop short-changing our children. Over the last six years, underfunding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program has resulted in a $1.5 billion  shortfall in funding for the education of our children. The consequences of this  are numerous, from low educational attainment to an inability of our state to attract family-sustaining jobs.

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