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School districts represented by key votes would've gained under formula rewrite

A rewrite of Mississippi's K-12 funding formula was killed in the Senate last week, with eight senators allying with Democrats to kill the measure.

An analysis of data supplied from formula designer EdBuild reveals that only one of the eight GOP senators who voted for the motion that killed it represented an area with a school district that would lose money under the plan.

House Bill 957 would've rewritten the state's education funding formula, known as the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, with a base student cost and financial weights for low income, gifted, English language learners and gifted students. It was sponsored by House Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton) and passed early in the session by the House before it was approved by the Senate Education Committee and presented on the floor on March 1 for a vote.

Since the committee deadline passed, the motion to recommit it back to committee killed it.

Eight Republican senators voted for the motion that sent it back to committee. They include:

  • State Sen. Chad McMahan (R-Guntown) voted against the measure despite the public school district in his district, Lee County, getting a 9.2 percent bump under the proposed formula from fiscal year 2018 numbers.

  • State Sen. Nickey Browning (R-Pontotoc) voted against the measure despite the three school districts set to receive more money under the plan, including Benton (13.5 percent bump), Pontotoc city schools (8.1 percent increase) and Pontotoc County (4.8 percent increase).

  • State Sen. Videt Carmichael (R-Meridian) voted against the measure despite Meridian city schools getting a 2.9 percent bump and Lauderdale County schools receiving a 2.4 percent increase.

  • State Sen. Dennis DeBar (R-Leakesville) voted against the plan despite George County schools set to receive a 10 percent increase under the plan along with Greene County (6.3 percent) and Wayne County (12.7 percent).

  • State Sen. Tommy Gollot (R-Biloxi) cast a vote against the measure despite Biloxi (7.1 percent increase) and Harrison County schools (8 percent) both gaining under the new plan.

  • State Sen. Briggs Hopson (R-Vicksburg) voted against the measure because the Vicksburg-Warren School District would lose 3.2 percent of its funding under the new plan. The district has lost 9 percent of its enrollment since 2004.

  • State Sen. Walter Michel (R-Jackson) voted against the measure despite Madison County schools receiving a 1.6 percent increase and Jackson Public Schools receiving a 3.1 percent bump under the Speaker's bill.

  • State Sen. Joseph Seymour (R-Vancleave) voted against the rewrite bill despite Jackson County (3.8 percent increase), Pearl River County (2.8 percent hike) and Stone County (9 percent increase) under the new plan.

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