HATTIESBURG, MISS. – The Mississippi’s State Senate could approve a new formula for how they are going to fund public schools, and ultimately some school districts in the Pine Belt area could see more state-funding than others.
“So this year, the house has now passed a bill that does a major revision to the formula and it could now come down to the Senate, where we'll look at it,” Mississippi State Senator, Joey Fillingane said.
The change affects how much funding public schools will receive from the state.
“The new format that we're looking forward to doing assigns a base amount per student. In addition, to that base student rate… you add factors like if the child has a learning disability, for instance, you may get additional dollars for that child because they maybe a little harder to educate,” Senator Fillingane explained.
Schools would receive extra funding if the child has a learning disability, language barrier, or even comes from a poverty-stricken home. Reason being is because this student might require additional resources to catch up to their peers.
Another change, Senator Fillingane hopes to see with the new system is better transparency. Fillingane says that he estimates there are millions of dollars the state spent on public education that weren't accounted for.
“So even though we're spending millions of dollars on bonuses for teachers, if they meant certain educational benchmarks in districts or their classrooms… those dollars were not counted in the M.A.P. formula,” Senator Fillingane explained. “It was as if those dollars didn't even exist because it wasn't part of the initial formula. So, therefore it didn't get counted in the formula, and that’s not fair.”
The new formula will count the money that the state spends on teacher bonuses as part of the state's funding towards public education.
Also, the new formula could bring more frequent head counts for a school's student population, so more schools receive the proper money needed to account for their transfer students.