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Education Funding Formula Approved by MS Legislature, Sent to Governor

The Mississippi Legislature has passed a new funding formula for K-12 education, sending the bill to the governor’s desk and replacing a funding model that has been in place since the 1990s.

On Saturday, the Senate passed House Bill 4130, called the Mississippi Student Funding Formula, with only three lawmakers voting against it. If signed by the governor or passed through the governor’s office, it would replace the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, which has been the primary source of state funding for K-12 education since 1993. The new formula will fund an increase of $217 million in MAEP funding. last year, and the total is $2,957,721,539.

However, the funding still remains approximately $100 million lower than what MAEP would be if it were fully funded.

It also replaces the proposed INSPIRE Act, a financing model. Lawmakers and House leaders pushed strongly earlier this session, but could never pass the Senate.

MSFF will implement an objective funding formula based on student enrollment, average teacher salaries, and other operational and administrative costs. The formula calculates the base student cost, or the cost to fund each student’s education, at $6,995, which is $40 more than previous funding models proposed by the House earlier this year.

The new formula also includes additional funding weights for school districts that promote career technology programs, have students with special needs and even English language learners, to name a few.

The MSFF will also need to be recalculated every four years and adjusted each year with an inflation expert.

Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar, R-Leakesville, who introduced the bill, said he had been working with House leadership on this legislation for several weeks. While he said it’s not a perfect bill, it’s better than lawmakers continuing to wait for needed reforms to K-12 education funding.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Grant McLaughlin covers state government for the Clarion Ledger. He can be reached at [email protected] or 972-571-2335.