Mississippi auditor Stacey Pickering told state lawmakers Tuesday that his office couldn't verify the preliminary estimate for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding formula because of issues with figures supplied from the Mississippi Department of Education.
The auditor said in the letter that his office's calculation of the Fiscal 2018 MAEP amount — which is a formula used to compute the amount of the MDE's K-12 education funding request — doesn't match the one done by the agency because of a $1.79 error in the administration component of the base student cost, which determines how much it costs to educate one child, plus add-on programs.
The error added up to more than $733,000 for the MAEP calculation in additional funding.
The MAEP formula is calculated as follows: Average daily attendance times base student cost, plus at-risk component minus local contribution plus 8-percent guarantee. Then, only after add-on programs — transportation, special education, gifted education, vocational education and alternative education — are added to the formula allocation do you get the final MAEP funding number.
Pickering recommended to lawmakers that they investigate the variances between the needs of different districts and add line-item fiscal control over certain expenditures, such as textbooks.
State law doesn’t require the Legislature to fully fund the amount called for by the MAEP formula and the GOP-controlled Legislature has increased K-12 funding in four of the last five years.