21 Mississippi school districts file for restitution of $230 mil - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

21 Mississippi school districts file for restitution of $230 million

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Twenty-one school districts have filed motions to receive immediate restitution for the $230 million they believe is owed to them by the state under the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP).

The motions also seek full funding of all Mississippi school districts under MAEP.  

A hearing will be held on Jan. 14, 2015, in Hinds County Chancery Court. 

Both the state and the school districts are asking the court to consider an immediate ruling without a trial.

The 21 districts are Clarksdale, Clay County, Forrest Municipal, Greene County, Greenville, Hattiesburg, Humphreys County, Jackson Public, Leake County, Leland, North Bolivar, Okolona, Prentiss County, Richton, Simpson County, Smith County, Sunflower Consolidated, Tate County, Wayne County, West Tallahatchie and Wilkinson County.

In a suit originally filed in August, the school districts allege the State of Mississippi has violated its own laws requiring full funding of the MAEP formula as amended in 2006 – underfunding the school districts by more than $230 million.  

The law allowed the state a three-year period – 2007 through 2009 – to phase in full funding to the amounts called for by a formula.

The motion further cites upcoming dates for standardized testing, ACT tests and the School Accountability rating of the National Assessment of Educational Progress as further evidence that failure to immediately and fully fund education in the state will cause irreparable harm to the school districts and the students they educate.

In its most recent proposed budget, the Legislative Budget Committee projects the state will have a revenue surplus of $295 million. 

The same proposed budget underfunds education by more than $284 million. 

Continuing to underfund MAEP through next year's budget means the State of Mississippi will have underfunded MAEP for all school districts by more than $1.8 billion since 2006.

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