Education forum to address school funding

news_education_greenBy Chris Kieffer

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton and the Mississippi Association of Educators will co-host a forum Monday night to address the need to fully fund public education.

The meeting is one of several being held around the state by the MAE. It will take place between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. in the Tupelo City Hall Council Chambers.

They will address the state’s underfunding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the formula passed by Legislators in 1997 to determine how much funding each school district should receive. It has been underfunded by more than $1.3 billion during the last six years, including a $250 million gap this year.

“Our message is clear,” MAE President Joyce Helmick said. “When state elected leaders underfund our public schools, students, public schools and communities suffer. State elected leaders have shifted their critical financial responsibility to fund our public schools to local cities and counties that then have to put on hold or permanently abandon services and projects that their residents need.”

Shelton and Helmick will speak at the event. Other speakers include State Reps. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, and Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, Tupelo Schools Superintendent Gearl Loden, Lee County Schools Superintendent Jimmy Weeks, Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman and Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran. There also will be a representative of Better Schools, Better Jobs, an organization seeking a ballot initiative that would require the state to fully fund its public schools.

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com