JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Legislatures heard from a non-profit company hired by the State to re-evaluate the school funding formula Thursday.
The meeting was at the State Capitol.
The company, EdBuild, was hired earlier this month for $250,000. CEO Rebecca Sibilia made her first presentation to the Senate and House Joint Education Committee.
Sibilia talked about moving to a student-based formula that would provide additional funds per pupil if they fall into certain categories like special education, gifted education or English language students. She said right now Mississippi’s funding formula MAEP, or the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, bases how much special education funding districts get on teachers instead of students.
Sibilia says, “We believe that a student that has autism in one part of the state it’s the same resources to be educated as a student with autism in a different part of the state,” Sibilia said.
Senator Hob Bryan questioned Sibilia’s presentation, calling the student-based formula “double speak.” Bryan says, “Frankly, what has happened with the legislature violating the law and not funding the district to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars our local districts have been forced to raise ad valorem taxes,” said State Senator Hob Bryan, a Democrat representing District 7.
Sibilia said right now the state doesn’t fund based on grade level. EdBuild may make a recommendation to give more funding to early education.
EdBuild will continue to look MAEP. Sibilia hopes to have preliminary recommendations ready by the end of the year so that legislators can start discussing it in time for the coming legislative session.