More on Initiative 42: Letters & Editorials

Updated 11/2/2015

Guest Column, The Clarion-Ledger, 10/30/15

Guest column from Catholic and United Methodist bishops (excerpt):  “We would like to urge the faithful in our communities to support Initiative 42 on Nov. 3, and encourage you research the ballot itself, which could be misleading. Voters must approve the amendment to the constitution and then vote in favor of the initiative. This is an opportunity to move Mississippi forward as a united community.”

Letter to Editor, The Sun Herald, 10/29/15

Letter from a Long Beach parent (excerpt):  “Initiative 42 means more books, smaller classes, safer buses, improved technology and better schools. As a Republican voter, I strongly support Initiative 42 because full funding enables adequate education which will empower a future community with skills and knowledge needed to elevate Mississippi up from the bottom. Please Vote YES to Initiative 42 on Nov. 3.”

Letter to Editor, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 10/29/15

Letter from business owner and former mayor of Tupelo (excerpt): “By voting FOR Initiative 42 we, as citizens who care about our State, and care about each other, are simply saying, we want this to be the priority.”

Letter to Editor, The Sun Herald, 10/29/15

Letter from an Ocean Springs parent (excerpt):  “Politicians who argue against Initiative 42 are only interested in one thing — themselves.”

Guest Column, The Clarion-Ledger, 10/28/15

Guest column by a professor emeritus from the University of Southern Mississippi (excerpt): “Scare tactics are no substitute for argument; judicial review is normal and ordinary; there’s no plot to ruin Mississippi by out-of-state special interests; and recourse to the courts has saved Mississippi from itself many times in the past. As for those legislators who are threatening draconian cuts in state agency budgets upon passage of Proposition 42, I can think of no quicker route to electoral defeat.”

Opinion Column, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 10/28/15

Opinion column from a Capitol Bureau reporter (excerpt):  “The genesis for the current education language in the Constitution is 1960 when the state was being forced to desegregate its school system and Mississippi leaders had no interest in placing a priority on integrated schools. That is when the original commitment to education found in the 1890s Constitution was weakened…The question is what do we want our state’s most important legal document to say about the issue of education. Do we want it to say education ranks as the priority it is in other states or do we want to say that’s OK, some state has to have the weakest commitment to public education?”

Guest Column, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 10/25/15

Guest column by the superintendent of Tupelo Public Schools (excerpt):  “Don’t ask me about Initiative 42. Don’t ask our politicians about it either. Instead, ask those on the front lines. Ask a teacher. Ask them about class sizes. Across our state, class sizes are steadily climbing because of inadequate funding. …Funding is not fluff if you ask a bus driver. Aging buses mean inconsistency in pick-up and drop-off times and puts student safety in jeopardy…Ask a maintenance worker about what kind of shape their school roofs are in, or how many work orders they respond to each month due to leaky roofs…In April, Tupelo sent out a resounding message supporting public schools when a bond issue passed by 86 percent. We said yes to our children in Tupelo – roughly 7,200 of them. Imagine what we could accomplish if we said yes to the 500,000 students in our state that attend public schools. Nov. 3 is our turn to say yes.”

Letter to Editor, The Sun Herald, 10/24/15

Letter from an Ocean Springs attorney and public school parent (excerpt): “The opponents (of Initiative 42) claim that it is a ‘radical ploy to shift power from voters to judges.’ This claim is absolutely baffling. I have been practicing law in federal and state courts for 30 years. Going to court to ensure that governmental bodies follow the law is as common as dirt. It happens every day in courts all over this country. I can also tell you from firsthand experience that judges in general are exceedingly respectful of the decisions of other governmental bodies. It is only when the train is really headed off the tracks that the courts will step in. Far from being radical, the fact that government agencies can be held accountable in the courts — just like citizens — is a big reason our democracy is stable.”

Letter to Editor, The Clarion-Ledger, 10/23/15

Letter from 106 United Methodist clergy in Mississippi (excerpt): “We strive to be faithful to Jesus’ high calling in the communities we serve, and we can think of no higher priority in God’s Kingdom than our children. Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” We can’t think of a single child in Mississippi that Jesus would turn away.  Let’s make all children our top priority. They desperately need it, and they deserve the resources Initiative 42 will bring.”

Guest Column, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 10/22/15

Guest column from a retired school superintendent and former chair of the Mississippi Board of Education (excerpt): “We have an abundance of politicians and others who are talkers for public education, but we have a shortage of those willing to adequately fund it. Challenge your candidates running for office and make them commit to adequately fund the public schools. An educated citizenry is absolutely essential to the future of Mississippi. On Nov. 3, vote for our children, better schools, better jobs, and a better Mississippi. Vote for Initiative 42.”

Guest Column, The Clarion-Ledger, 10/22/15

Guest column from a school principal (excerpt):  “Initiative 42 is about making our public schools a priority. It is the outward public and political expression of both expectations and support.”

Editorial Endorsement, The Sun Herald, 10/17/15

Editorial endorsement (excerpt):  “State leaders ask you to trust them, they will put aside political differences and fix this. They have had years and years to fix it. They haven’t. We trust Initiative 42 will ensure public education is adequately funded. We recommend you cut through the noise and confusion and vote for Initiative 42.”

Letter to Editor, The Hattiesburg American, 10/17/15

Letter from a teacher in Pass Christian (excerpt):  “I have been terribly disappointed by the Legislature’s history of failure to sufficiently provide for public education. How do they not see that withholding the means by which Mississippians can most fully develop their gifts and talents is not just cruel, but economically irrational? I have been dismayed by the attempts of the Legislature to derail Initiative 42 with their deceptive “42-A” alternative. How dare they mobilize to intentionally mislead the public they have sworn to represent and protect?”

Guest Column, The Clarion-Ledger, 10/15/15

Guest column from a Philadelphia parent (excerpt): “The number of students in classrooms is too large because school districts cannot afford enough teachers. Children are riding in our county and city in 20-year-old buses. School building roofs are leaking and textbooks are scarce and way out of date. Conditions like this are common and unacceptable. Still, the Legislature keeps piling on the unfunded mandates, and educators stretch and stretch to make it work.”

Guest Column, The Oxford Eagle, 10/14/15

Guest column by professor emeritus of political science and public administration at Mississippi State University (excerpt): “At the end of the day, Initiative 42 is in reality a rather measured approach to making certain that education simply gets a fixed share of revenue growth when it occurs until funding levels become sufficient to provide an adequate education to as many Mississippi children as possible.”

Letter to Editor, The Oxford Eagle, 10/13/15

Letter from the owner of Square Books and former mayor of Oxford (excerpt): “Funding does not guarantee success but lack of funding virtually guarantees failure. We owe it to the almost 500,000 children who go to public school every day across our state — 90 percent of the state’s children — to pass Initiative 42 and give them the resources they need to succeed.”

Post, Mississippi Education Blog, 10/11/15

Post from an elementary teacher in Tupelo (excerpt): “In 2014, nearly 200,000 Mississippians from every county and both political parties took a stand and signed petitions to have Initiative 42 added to the ballot on November 3, 2015. This would amend the state constitution in a way that makes public education a priority instead of an afterthought. Initiative 42 closes a loophole that has allowed the Legislature to break the MAEP law for so long.”

Letter to Editor, The Clarion-Ledger, 10/7/15

Letter from the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference (excerpt): “We as a body have voted to support Initiative 42 to amend the Mississippi State Constitution, which would require the Mississippi Legislature to abide by a law it passed in 1997 to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Our support is based on our belief that ensuring all children have the opportunity to receive a high quality public education is both our moral and financial duty.”

Letter to Editor, The Clarion-Ledger, 10/4/15

Letter from a Pass Christian teacher (excerpt):  “If our legislators do not heed our cries for strong, fully funded public education, they do not preserve our liberty. They break faith with us…I urge you and all of your families to join my own and vote for Initiative 42 on Nov. 3.”

Post, Mississippi Education Blog, 10/3/15

Post from a science teacher in Southaven (excerpt): “So, say you think Initiative 42 is not perfect. Ok. Even though it’s workable in that it secures funding for our children and grandchildren- let’s say you don’t like the wording, and you’re ‘unsure if it’s the right answer.’ Ok. Well if 42 is not the answer, what is? Are we to just take the one chance we’ve had in 20 years, and flush it down the drain because it wasn’t unanimous?”

Editorial, The Calhoun County Journal, 9/30/15

Editorial (excerpt):  “The adamant refusal of…state leaders to adequately fund our schools is confusing to say the least, but not nearly as confusing as trying to decipher the ballot we will be reading in November.”

Guest Column, Parents & Kids Magazine, 9/29/15

Guest column from Mississippi’s 2015 Parent of the Year (excerpt):  “I’m not the type of person who likes to get involved in heated political debates. But, as a parent with children in public schools, I’ve come to realize that politics affects education in a way that demands our attention.”

Letter to Editor, The Clarion-Ledger, 9/28/15

Letter from a Jackson parent (excerpt):  “The truth is no child in any school district is currently receiving adequate funding from the state. Whether you live in Madison County, Rankin County, DeSoto County, Jackson County, or my home county, Sharkey, the children in your school district are not receiving sufficient financial support from state government. Initiative 42 is about correcting that failure.”

Article, Mississippi Press, 9/27/15

Associated Press article about Jim Barksdale’s views on Initiative 42 (excerpt): “Jim Barksdale is a passionate supporter of Initiative 42. He says that the effort to write a funding guarantee into the state constitution is key to the state’s future, and he is appealing to voters to approve it in November.”

Guest Column, The Clarion-Ledger, 9/26/15

Guest column from a member of FedUpWith50th (excerpt): “We believe that the quality of education in our state directly correlates with funding, and we are thoroughly “fed up” with the Legislature’s obstinate refusal to lawfully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program…”

Letter to Editor, The Clarion-Ledger, 9/26/15

Letter from a Madison County parent (excerpt): “I live in one of the top school districts in the state, with excellent resources. But underfunding hurts even the most successful districts…A constitutional amendment will ensure public schools receive funds to properly educate Mississippi children…I will be voting for Initiative 42 in November.”

Guest Column, The Clarion-Ledger, 9/25/15

Guest column from a state policy analyst (excerpt): “To make Mississippi stronger, we need to support our public schools at the level required for success. This means, at the very least, appropriating resources for the state’s school funding formula, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), at the amount the law requires…MAEP provides the ‘meat and potatoes’ of what schools need, like teacher salaries and textbooks.”

Letter to Editor, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 9/25/15

Letter from a former MDE budget director (excerpt): “My esteemed friend (the late) Sen. Grey Ferris of Vicksburg and I sat on the Capitol’s front steps at 2:30 in the morning before the vote (to pass MAEP in 1997) and talked about our hopes and dreams for the children…I am supporting Initiative 42 because our children’s chances to succeed have been forgotten in Jackson. Fully funding K-12 is the crucial first step, not handing out tax breaks to big out-of-state corporations or throwing away our resources on fly-by-night projects doomed to fail.”

Letter to Editor, The Clarion-Ledger, 9/23/15

Letter from a Gulfport engineer (excerpt): “Our state Legislature should be ashamed! Mississippi ranks dead last in education. In 1997 you passed the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), a law to fund public schools to a “C” rating (C not A). In the 18 years since 1997, you have only funded to this level twice.”

Editorial, The Natchez Democrat, 9/23/15

Editorial (excerpt): “Initiative 42 focuses on adequately funding Mississippi’s largely inadequate public education system.”

Editorial, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 9/20/15

Editorial (excerpt): “Mississippians can chart a better course in November by voting for Initiative 42. The point, after all, is not to enhance anyone’s power, but to fully enable public schools to reach worthy goals already known and set.”

Guest Column, Mississippi Business Journal, 9/17/15

Guest column from Meridian parents/grandparents and former national president of the Mississippi State Alumni Association, former trustee for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, and retired admissions director for Meridian Community College (excerpt):  “Our children, the ‘least’ among us, deserve to have us do the right thing. We in Mississippi are now faced with an important opportunity to demonstrate that we care about the education of our children and future work force by voting for Initiative 42. It is true that money will not solve all our ills but it certainly will be a beginning to making Mississippi the place we know it can be.”

Letter to Editor, The Sun Herald, 9/17/15

Letter from a Gulfport community leader (excerpt): “I support Initiative 42. It will assure the 1997 MAEP funding law will actually be followed by the lawmakers who passed it in the first place, after they have chosen not to do so for 16 out of the 18 years since its adoption. If we failed 16 times to follow a law, we would be held accountable, and so should they.”

Guest Column, Mississippi Press, 9/16/15

Guest column from a former newspaper editor (excerpt): “There really is no middle ground on education funding. The MAEP law provides a formula that determines the amount necessary to provide a basic education for Mississippi schoolchildren. Oh, some will try to offer rationalizations for not supporting adequate education funding, but they are either for full funding of schools or they are for something less — and something less is not adequate.”

Letter to Editor, The Clarion-Ledger, 9/14/15

Letter from a long-time advocate for children and families (excerpt): “We cannot go on with an ‘almost adequate education plan.’ Let’s pass Initiative 42 this November, and then work together to strengthen every aspect of our school system.”

Public Comments from Initiative 42 Forums

Comments from public forums on Initiative 42: “Adequate education means more college prep classes, safe buses, smaller class sizes, and current textbooks.”

Guest Column,, 8/29/15

Guest column from a South Mississippi businessman (excerpt): “I believe support for Initiative 42 responds to the lesson from a higher power, when it comes to our responsibilities to help make Mississippi a better place…When we are called to make a difference for our children, it is always the right thing to do. Please join me in voting for Initiative 42 on Nov. 3.”

Letter to Editor, The Daily Leader, 8/25/15

Letter from a school principal (excerpt): “The biggest whopper currently going around is that if Initiative 42 passes, a single judge could force school district consolidation. Nowhere in the initiative is school consolidation mentioned, or even hinted at. Yet still the message is out: support 42 and lose your school district. This is a falsehood, deliberate and intentional. If voters oppose school district consolidation, it’s not a judge they should fear, but the governor’s office and the legislature.”

Letter to Editor, The Clarion-Ledger, 8/23/15

Letter from DeSoto County parent (excerpt):  “The hysterical claim that one judge would be running our school districts if Initiative 42 passes is just that — hysterical. The Legislature will maintain full authority to make laws and appropriate budgets while the courts will continue to do what they have done for two centuries in this country, rule on the constitutionality of those actions.”

Letter to Editor, The Meridian Star, 8/21/15

Letter from a former history teacher (excerpt):  “Lawmakers are hoping that their campaign against Initiative 42 and this confusion caused by their own initiative will be enough to stop the movement for full funding.”

Guest Column, The Sun Herald, 8/15/15

Guest column from a Madison County parent and Mississippi’s 2015 Parent of the Year (excerpt):  “A majority of both houses of our Legislature has made it perfectly clear that they cannot be trusted to adequately fund public education. So if you support public schools, or if you’re interested in seeing our state prosper or our children have a fair shot at achieving a better life, there’s only one way. Please join me by voting for Initiative 42 on Nov. 3.”