SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The defeat of Initiative 42 was a big blow to Coast supporters who fought hard to get the measure passed. One of the cofounders of the grassroots organization Fed Up with 50th said their fight is not over yet. It's just beginning.
When the final numbers came in from Tuesday's Initiative 42 vote, St. Martin math teacher Amy Bosarge couldn't believe the outcome.
"I was actually very heartbroken and very disappointed, because they hold teachers accountable to test scores, and I believe Initiative 42 would hold lawmakers accountable for their spending. I think they were afraid that we were going to interfere with their money," said Bosarge, who teaches at St. Martin Upper Elementary.
Members of a group that campaigned for 42 said the odds were against them.
"It was a long shot and we knew it, but the fact that the vote was this close tells me that there are a lot of Mississippians around the state who care about these public schools, and the legislature needs to start paying attention to them," said Tara Skelton, Fed Up with 50th cofounder.
Skelton said Fed Up with 50th has formed a statewide coalition of supporters and will use that momentum to push state lawmakers to give schools more money.
"When the session comes, we're going to be ready. We're going to be ready to bring the pressure and make sure they keep those promises," said Skelton.
"We'll never reach our attainable test scores unless they fully fund us to give us the resources that we need," said Bosarge. "Our state legislature, I hate to say the word, they're selfish, and they put education last. They put it on the back burner, and that's the reason we're 50th."
Members of Fed up with 50th will meet with other pro-42 groups to discuss their next strategy. They are also using social media to boost membership and spread their message across the state.