Concern over education funding growing among MS teachers

Concern over education funding growing among MS teachers

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Adequate Education Program is a school funding formula passed by lawmakers in 1997. But schools have received full funding only twice since then. Now, an effort is underway to re-write the law, and that has some teachers worried.

We caught up with some science teachers at a conference in Biloxi this week to learn more about their concerns.

"In order for our kids to compete and be successful with other countries, we need to be fully funded. And plus, that way we can integrate technology the way it's supposed to be used in the classroom," Emanuel Posey said.

With the current school funding formula only being accomplished twice in two decades, teachers are puzzled, including Mena Burnett.

"I've always wondered about that. It's curious that it's a law and hasn't been actually followed in such a long time. So I hope they come up with something that will work this time," Burnett mused.

Others wonder where education ranks in the state budget pecking order.

"Sometimes I feel that education is not put first in Mississippi by the people that run Mississippi. And it's imperative that we have that money. There are so many teachers that take money out of their checks to pay for the things that are necessary in their classrooms to run," Kelle Sumrall explained.

If there's one message these Mississippi science teachers have for state lawmakers at the capitol, it is this: They would like to see them walk a mile in their shoes.

"We need to get more of these representatives in our classrooms to see the needs of the kids," Nate Varnier said.

Because the law hasn't been followed, some teachers feel trust has eroded.

"When someone says this is what you need to do your job well, but then they don't give you what you need, it makes us feel as a teacher base, it makes us feel like they don't want us to succeed," Whitney Jackson said.

State budget writers and legislative leaders are working with a non-profit firm from New Jersey on re-vamping MAEP.  They hope to have a new version in place so it can be debated when the legislature convenes in January.

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