MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - A state representative's push to get the Moss Point School District to sue for millions in education funding has hit a snag. Rep. Jeramey Anderson said he publicly asked school board members to join a lawsuit against the state Tuesday night during the board meeting, but his offer was rejected.
"It is not like we are suing the state for money that wasn't already allocated to you. It is yours, and it is already sitting there," Anderson said.
Anderson admits he is disappointed the school board hasn't joined an education funding lawsuit that could push more than $8 million into local schools.
"We have 13 days left to file this suit, and attorneys have been talking to them for the last four or five months about this lawsuit," Anderson said.
The suit involves money from the Mississippi Adequate Education Program that was passed by the state in the 1990s. Anderson said MAEP was designed to ensure that districts are fully funded, so every student receives an adequate education.
That program has been under funded by about $1.5 billion since 2010. That's why Anderson and these citizens said Moss Point should get the money that is owed to provide more resources for the school district.
"Even in the meeting last night, they were talking about copiers, not having enough money for textbooks, the air condition systems, even to be able to fund teacher pay raises. There is so many things that we can do with the funds," resident Jhai Keeton said.
Anderson said he and his staff will continue to urge the district to say yes to the lawsuit. He wants every Moss Point citizen to call board members to do the same.
"The school board's inability to act on behalf of this opportunity is reckless and cowardly, in my opinion. We are going to do everything in my office to help. We are going to take aggressive action in the next two weeks to make sure the interest of the students in our school district is protected," Anderson said.
Wednesday evening, the Moss Point School District's School Board released a statement saying, "The Moss Point School District Board of Education's sole purpose is to provide a quality education for our students and to follow policies and procedures that are directed from the Mississippi School Board Association to properly secure resources for the shortage of funding for the district. We understand that Rep. Anderson is a representative of our neighboring school district, which is also entitled to the allocated funds, and we are willing to discuss with Rep. Anderson."
14 districts across the state have joined in the lawsuit for back pay.