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Petition gets seal of approval
by Zack Steen
Aug 14, 2014 | 59 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A petition making its way around the state recently got the seal of approval from District 2 State Representative Nick Bain.

Bain publicly signed the petition in support of initiative measure number 42, which states the government must fully fund public education in Mississippi.

“The initiative is intended to ensure every public school district has enough state support to provide the basics of a good education,” said Bain. “I signed the petition, because I believe that good public education is the cornerstone to a better way of life for all of Mississippi’s citizens.”

The petition ballot summary states, the amendment will protect each child’s fundamental right to educational opportunity through the 12th grade by amending Section 201 so that the state must provide and the Legislature must fund an adequate and efficient system of free public schools. The recommendation is to finance this not by new taxes, but by using a portion of future increases in general fund revenues over the next seven years in order to reach necessary level of funding.

“As a product of Alcorn County schools, I am committed to do all I can for the education system in Mississippi,” added Bain. “I believe we as citizens have the right to vote for this amendment.”

The Mississippi Association of School Superintendents kicked off a campaign several months ago called Better Schools, Better Jobs. The campaign aims to help pass the amendment.

The Alcorn School District board supports the campaign.

“Whether a person is for it or against it, they should sign the petition so everyone will get the opportunity to vote on it next November,” said board member Russ Nash.

Nash is also a director on the Mississippi School Board Association.

“The lack of full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program is one of the reason’s why Alcorn School District currently has a deficit,” Nash added.

The MAEP was created in 1997 to address low student achievement and inequity in Mississippi schools. The program was designed to bridge the gap in funding between school districts, specifically in communities with a low tax base who are unable to financially supplement their children’s education like more affluent communities.

According to the Better Schools, Better Jobs website, the initiative will seek 25 percent of increased revenues when the state’s General Fund grows. If the General Fund does not grow over the prior year, MAEP would not receive an increase for that fiscal year.

Over the last six years, underfunding of the MAEP has resulted in a $1.5 billion shortfall in funding for the education of Mississippi children.

(For more information, visit betterms.org. To sign the petition, visit the Alcorn School District office on Manpower Road.)
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