School districts will benefit from proposed funding formula

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A bill focusing on rewriting the state’s public education funding formula passed the House of Representatives and has now gone to the Senate for further debate.

HB 957 requires the establishment of a new funding formula known as the ‘Mississippi Uniform Per Student Funding Formula Act of 2018.’ If passed, the bill requires a new formula be established and used in calculating the school district funding beginning with the 2019 fiscal year.

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John Glen Corley, State Representative for District 106, said the current formula does not allocate funding based on dollars per student whereas the new proposed formula will.

He said the bill would assign a base funding amount of $4,800 per student.

The Bill passed the House by votes 66-54.

According to the bill, the per student allocation is established for each student under 21 years of age enrolled in grades 9 through 12 and counted in a school district’s or charter school’s average daily membership.

If implemented, the funding change will provide additional funding for students with special needs.

Corley said student enrollment is an important part of this formula and that growing school districts will benefit, since they will receive additional money from the state, local and county governments.

He believes the formula to be fair in distributing tax dollars across the state to educate children.

“It is going to help make our schools very fairly funded based on the number of students and our schools will be very competitive in attracting students and growing in numbers,” Corley said.

He said $107 million would be phased into the proposed funding formula within the next few years.

“It is an easy bill for schools to project what their funds will be the following year,” Corley said.

He said the purpose of the bill is provide an option for school districts to make decisions regarding the education of students.