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Senate inspired to replace MAEP, new...

Senate inspired to replace MAEP, new education funding formula heads to Governor

By: Jeremy Pittari - April 27, 2024

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann prepares to gavel Mississippi's state senate into the first day of 2024's legislative session. (Photo by Jeremy Pittari)

  • The agreement between the House and Senate means MAEP, established in 1997, will be replaced.

On Saturday, the Mississippi House and Senate finally came to an agreement on how to fund the state’s K-12 education system.

The Senate passed HB 4130 – the Mississippi Student Funding Formula – by a vote of 49-3 a day after the legislation unanimously passed the House.

READ MORE: House inspires new Mississippi Student Funding Formula

The agreement means the current Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP, established in 1997, will be repealed and replaced.

State Senator Dennis DeBar (R) said the new formula is expected to increase education funding over last year’s total by about $230 million, taking into account increased PERS and insurance expenses.

It was noted that the concept for the bill came through consulting with the Mississippi Department of Education, local superintendents, and legislative staff, but did not include third parties.

“The bill here is by and large constructed by the Senate,” DeBar said while on the floor.

However, the new funding formula is similar to the House’s INSPIRE Act presented earlier in the session. Like INSPIRE, the approved bill includes a weighted system for determining additional funding over the base student cost, which was determined to be $6,695. 

Also like the INSPIRE Act, MSFF’s weighted systems are geared towards helping school districts with a lower tax base while focusing on specific student needs such as English language learners, high school CTE classes, and special needs and gifted students. It also addresses districts with sparse populations and concentrated poverty. 

Senator DeBar said the sparse population category was added to help districts cover transportation expenses. 

“This is huge for our rural districts,” DeBar added while on the floor.

Grant Callen, founder and CEO of Empower Mississippi, is pleased a weighted system was included in the legislation. His organization has long advocated for lawmakers to ensure dollars reach the students they are intended to serve.

“HB 4130 is a transformational step forward in ensuring that Mississippi funds students, not systems,” Callen said. “We believe every student should have access to an education that meets their unique needs, and for years we’ve advocated for embracing a public education funding formula that focuses on meeting the needs of individual students. Critical to that was repealing the deeply flawed MAEP formula.”

The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for consideration. His signature would officially replace MAEP with the new funding formula.  

About the Author(s)
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Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics. Email Jeremy:
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