Proposed new funding formula dies on Senate side

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 3, 2018

House Bill 957, which focused on rewriting the state’s public education funding formula, was sent back to committee by the Senate, effectively killing the bill.

The bill would have required the establishment of a new funding formula known as the ‘Mississippi Uniform Per Student Funding Formula Act of 2018.” If it has continued on to become law, it would have gone into effect the 2019 fiscal year.

Mississippi House of Representative for District 108 Stacey Wilkes said it was unfortunate the bill did not make it past the Senate.

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Wilkes said it would have assigned more money to the classrooms and school districts would have been able to calculate what they would be receiving each year.

“The calculation would have been based on average enrollment instead of attendance,” Wilkes said.

She said the focus should be to direct money towards classrooms instead of paying administration.

“We got to do something different, what we are doing now is definitely not working,” Wilkes said.

John Glen Corley, State Representative for District 106, said that now the Legislature has an opportunity to make the bill better before presenting it during next year’s legislative session.

Corley said one aspect he feels needs work is to have less state testing requirements for students.

“The problem is in high school students have multiple tests to take throughout the school year,” Corley said. “The 12th grade exit exam we have today is not serving all students well.”

Now that the bill is dead, schools will have to continue under the underfunded formula currently in use, Corley said.

Corley said passing the bill would have also directed more money give teachers better pay.

“We all want great education for our children, hopefully we can come together and find a common ground,” Wilkes said.