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Democrats seek to change the terms of school funding debate

February 17, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Opponents of changing the way Mississippi funds its public schools say that all schools will come out poorer under a proposed new formula than if the current one were fully funded.

Only twice in 20 years have lawmakers provided the entire amount demanded by the current Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Last month, representatives approved House Bill 957 , which would replace the current formula with one that Republicans say would be more transparent and affordable. The measure awaits Senate action.

Sen. Hob Bryan, an Amory Democrat, says the bill’s promise of increasing funding by $107 million after a seven-year phase-in falls short of what schools should get under the current formula. Democrats say Republicans have prioritized tax cuts and want to kill the current formula to end political criticism.

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