First, to clear up any misunderstanding about Initiative 42: The initiative changes section 201 of the Mississippi Constitution to provide an "adequate and efficient system of free public schools."
It would still be up to the Legislature to fund education to an adequate level. Adequate has previously been defined by the MAEP formula, which was passed by the Legislature in 1997. By changing the Constitution, parties could sue the Legislature if adequate funding is not provided. A chancery judge would hear the case and make a determination on its merits.
Next is the issue of education funding in Mississippi. According to the Budget Bulletin issued by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee on May 1, 2015, total public education is funded at $2,271,539,645 (39.78 percent), and higher education is funded at $824,078,671 (14.43 percent). That is a total of 54.21 percent of the general fund appropriations for the state of Mississippi. Social welfare is funded at 18.92 percent. Between education and social welfare, the Legislature is only left with about 26 percent of the general fund dollars to fund all of the other needs for the state of Mississippi.
We don't have a funding problem; we have a personal responsibility problem. People want to blame everybody else for the problems today (in this case -- education). It's the president, Congress, Jackson or just anybody but ourselves. The problems we have now are the parents' fault. It is our responsibility to raise our children, not the government's.
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If parents want to help their children with their education, sit down at the family dinner table tonight and discuss what is going on with their lives and with their education. Take responsibility!
ROB and TARA FORT