School Funding and the State Budget, FY2008 vs. FY2015

Posted 10/27/2014

Prior to the Great Recession, 2008 was the high-water mark for state funding. That was also the last year that Mississippi’s public schools were fully funded according to state law through the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP). 

Comparing FY2008 to FY2015

A comparison of the Fiscal Year 2015 (FY2015) state budget to the FY2008 budget casts doubt on legislators’ claims that funds were either unavailable or insufficient to fully fund the MAEP. It reveals the following:
·   The FY2015 state budget is $2.2-billion more than the FY2008 state budget. See chart.
·   The FY2015 appropriation for the MAEP, including the teacher pay raise, is $50-million less than the FY2008 appropriation. See MAEP table.
·   MAEP funding is down $623 per student when adjusted for inflation.
·   The FY2015 total K-12 appropriation is $3.5-million less than the FY2008 total K-12 appropriation.
·   The appropriations for most state agencies increased in this same time period, some significantly. Exceptions are K-12 education, the governor’s office, and some special funds agencies. See agency budget graph.
·   The Legislature increased its own budget by 17%.
·   Since 2008, the state budget, excluding K-12 education, has risen to more than 30 percent above the pre-recession high while the K-12 education budget remains below FY2008 levels. See graph.

Would Full Funding Mean Cuts to Other Agencies?

Better Funding Yields Better Achievement

Mississippi schools received their highest level of funding to date in school year 2007-2008 (when the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) was last fully funded). The following year (2008-2009), schools were under-funded, but by only $28-million. In the spring of 2009, following two years of adequate or near adequate funding, Mississippi fourth graders showed the largest gains in fourth-grade reading in the country. Click here to see a graph showing how Mississippi’s fourth grade reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress track with MAEP funding.

The 60% Myth

K-12 does not get 60% of the state budget, no matter how you slice it. Here’s the breakdown by source of funding:
·    K-12 gets 39% of the General Fund. The General Fund makes up a little less than half of all state-generated funds. See graph.
·    K-12 gets 23% of the total state budget, when federal funds are excluded. See graph.
·    K-12 gets 17% of all state appropriated funds when federal funds are included. See graph.

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