BOBBY HARRISON: A little clarity on what MAEP and ‘shall’ mean
Now, it appears the Legislature will finally take official action to stop the argument about whether MAEP “shall” be fully funded.
And, there is nothing sacrosanct about the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. It is only a law written by individuals.
At the time, it was hailed nationwide as a major achievement because it guaranteed a certain amount of equity funding among Mississippi school districts and established a baseline level of funding for all school districts based on objective criteria.
Those responsible for the law argued – and most legislators agreed at the time – that education was so important that it should be funded at that objectively established level with no discretion for legislators to alter that amount.
Should the new law pass, it also will provide a certain level of equity funding. But the formula that attempted to base school funding on objective criteria will be replaced with legislative discretion and the word “shall” will be stripped away as it relates to requiring a certain level of funding for education.
But if the word “shall” accidentally makes it into the legislation, do not fear, it doesn’t mean anything under Mississippi law.