Backlash from Initiative 42 support comes in form of new law - - Jackson, MS

Backlash from Initiative 42 support comes in form of new law

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

There's backlash from the last election cycle. 

As a reminder, Initiative 42 led to a bitter fight trying to force the legislature to fully fund public education.

It had several vocal supporters, including superintendents of education. The school funding push failed, but lawmakers aired their frustrations through a new state law.

The Mississippi Association of School Superintendents hosts a summer conference and educators from across the state get continuing education credits for attending. The districts usually foot the bill for registration and dues. But if they do that this year, they'd be breaking the law.

"Some guidance has been issued out to go ahead and do the paperwork now, prior to the beginning of the law," said Madison County Superintendent Dr. Ronnie McGehee.

It wasn't guidance directly from the association. Instead, it was brought up within several districts' discussions. 

But Madison County won't do that and risk the loss of any funding.

House Appropriations chairman Herb Frierson makes no bones about it. The law banning districts from spending public money on the superintendent association is the result of the fight for 42 saying, "When they attack people like that, they're biting the hand that feeds them, and maybe the next time they need to think about that."

Frierson pointed to instances when lawmakers were called liars and bullies during the Initiative 42 campaign. He said they crossed a line when they questioned their integrity. McGehee says the move is misplaced.

"I don't think we should all be painted with the same brush," said McGehee. "We have 140 something districts in this state, 140 something superintendents. And all of us do it a little differently. I think when you put everybody in the same corner and paint us with that brush, that's a problem."

If educators want to attend the conference, they'll have to pay out of pocket this year.

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