Parents group urges Mississippians to join virtual rally for education funding

Parents group urges Mississippians to join virtual rally for education funding

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - One group is asking you to put your social media skills to work to push for more money for Mississippi schools. The group is worried that some state lawmakers may try to jeopardize efforts to pass an education funding amendment. Members held a virtual rally Wednesday to urge lawmakers to leave the amendment alone.

"We have far more children, greater number of children in poverty. We are providing our schools fewer resources than other states provide their schools," Nancy Loome said.

Loome spoke to the Gulfport Kiwanis Club about how extra money in the classroom can help Mississippi children get a quality education. Loome is the Executive Director of the grassroots organization Parents' Campaign. She said Amendment 42, which goes up for a vote in November, would force lawmakers to adequately fund education.

"More than 200,000 Mississippi taxpayers signed petitions saying they wanted this on the ballot, and we think the legislature should let the people vote up or down on their initiative," Loome said.

She said there's talk that some state lawmakers are working on an alternative proposal. That, she said, could make it hard for Amendment 42 to pass.

"The threshold is very difficult to meet if there are two alternatives on the ballot. It would confuse voters, and so it's really an attempt to derail the whole thing," said Loome.

As lawmakers convened in Jackson, her group urged Mississippians to flood the state capitol through emails, texts, tweets and Facebook with this message.

"What we're asking them to say is, 'Hands off our amendment.' Leave it alone. Let us vote on it as is, and let the people decide," said Loome.

"At the end of the day, they have to balance the budget. So, I can appreciate that, and I can also appreciate the value, economically speaking, of a properly educated society," said Gulfport Kiwanis Club President Reece Roberts.

Loome hopes the day-long virtual rally will capture the legislature's attention.

"We're watching it. We're excited about it. We appreciate all the moms and dads and educators out there who are standing up for our children," Loome said.

The group said since 2009, schools across Mississippi have been under funded through MAEP by $1.5 billion. The Gulfport School District's shortfall is about $3 million.

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