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Low Morale in Mississippi Schools After Initiative 42 Fails to Pass

Low Morale in Mississippi Schools After Initiative 42 Fails to Pass

More money was raised to campaign for Initiative 42 than any referendum in history, yet it failed to pass after one of the lowest voter turnouts in Mississippi’s history decided its fate.

For the teachers and community members who helped tirelessly campaign for the measure and raise awareness against the confusing alternative measure juxtaposing it on the ballot, the weeks following the loss have been heartbreaking, says The Hechinger Report.

Despite Mississippi lawmakers passing the education funding formula Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) in 1997, the formula has only ever been followed twice in the 18 years since. Initiative 42 would have required policy makers to follow the formula by the state’s constitution, and educators were counting on it.

"One of the things [elementary school principal Shannon] Eubanks hoped for was additional money to hire an art teacher to work with elementary students at Enterprise Attendance Center, the 840-student school he leads and his daughter attends,” The Hechinger Report said.

"If Initiative 42 had passed, Eubanks’ school district would have received about $1.3 million additional dollars. Statewide, an additional $200 million would have been infused into the state’s struggling public school system.”

Now, in the absence of the initiative, public education advocates will embark on a journey to pressure the state’s legislature to better fund Mississippi school system.

“[A]s lawmakers continue to kick around ideas about funding and debate what formula is most appropriate, Eubanks said he is striving to take a long-term view of the effort to better fund the state’s schools — even while his own daughter’s sixth grade year ticks away without an art teacher in sight.”

Eubanks told the Hechinger Report he encourages other downtrodden teachers to rest and recuperate until January- when the next battle is set to happen as the state’s lawmakers get ready to meet.

Eubanks and his peers must let the scars of a hard-fought but lost battle heal as they get ready for the next.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

11/16/2015

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