School Funding and Future Governors

Yesterday, the Mississippi Supreme Court heard argument from former Governor Ronnie Musgrove and an Assistant Attorney General about school funding.

According to the Clarion Ledger article, Governor Musgrove argued that MAEP must be funded – “There are all kinds of statutory provisions that the Legislature must comply with, unless they change the law.”  It continues, “Musgrove also argues the funding formula is legally strengthened by the state constitution, which says ‘The Legislature shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may prescribe.’”

General Hood’s representative apparently argued that the Legislature does not have to fully fund MAEP.  He said “the law is only an ‘aspirational goal’ and that each year’s Legislature ‘can ignore’ the formula’s mandates, even without changing the law. ‘The MAEP budget formula does not reduce legislators’ fiscal discretion to a rubber stamp,'”

Am I the only person who thinks that a potential gubernatorial candidate will see this argument again in political ads that say he agrees with the approach to school funding taken by our elected officials and Legislature?

Has school funding just been taken off the board as a political “hot potato?”


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