Education

Moss Point lawmaker starts petition on state education funding

State Rep. Jeramey Anderson, D-Moss Point, tweeted a statement Friday that says he will not support Gov. Phil Bryant’s call for a special session to pass any new education funding formula until ‘scrupulous vetting has taken place.’
State Rep. Jeramey Anderson, D-Moss Point, tweeted a statement Friday that says he will not support Gov. Phil Bryant’s call for a special session to pass any new education funding formula until ‘scrupulous vetting has taken place.’ Submitted

A Moss Point lawmaker is asking Mississippians to sign an online petition that demands a thorough vetting of the state’s proposed education-funding formula.

Rep. Jeramey Anderson, D-Moss Point, tweeted a statement Friday that says he will not support the Republican Gov. Phil Bryant’s call for a special session to pass any new education-funding formula until “scrupulous vetting has taken place.”

Top Republicans hired EdBuild, a New Jersey–based education-consulting firm, to review the state’s public education funding formula, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Legislators have fully funded MAEP only twice in nearly 20 years. EdBuild released its suggestions for a new formula Jan. 17.

Legislators couldn’t make a decision on the formula, so they created placeholder bills that allow them take the matter up after the regular session if Bryant calls a special session. So far, Bryant hasn’t, but Anderson said it’s likely. House and Senate bills to re-write the funding formula both died.

Anderson said in a news release: “We should not change the education funding formula without taking into account the people who will be affected the most. It is time that we start listening to our students, educators and administrators directly in order to craft policy based on their experiences, needs and concerns.”

He said most legislators have been kept out of the loop on the new funding formula. He said he came up with the idea for a petition after last week’s Seat at the Table rally at the Capitol. Students, parents and public school supporters demanded legislators allow them to provide input on the new funding formula.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” Anderson said. “Here it is, close to the remainder of the year and we’re not hearing nothing. Counting the people on the budget, I’d say there’s probably 10 to 12 people that know what’s really going on.”

The petition calls for:

▪  Public hearings throughout the state with participation from all education stakeholders.

▪  Impact data and projected annual school-district funding levels for a minimum of five years.

▪  MAEP funding as called for by current law.

▪  A specific level of funding for public schools with adjustments for rising costs over time.

The petition can be found at Change.org.

Justin Vicory: 228-896-2326, @justinvicory

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