Oral arguments will be heard in the state’s highest court Wednesday on whether or not state lawmakers are shirking their legal responsibilities by continuing not fully to fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula.
Former Governor Ronnie Musgrove filed the lawsuit in 2014.
Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden said this had been a complicated lawsuit.
“It was filed in 2014, it was tried in 2015,” said Snowden. “It is important to note that in 2015, (Chancery Court) Judge William Singletary ruled against Musgrove.”
The ruling against Musgrove came over the wording of the law regarding the MAEP formula, which says it “shall” be fully funded.
“Yes, the law says you shall do this, but the legislature has to make decisions each session based on the budget,” said Snowden. “A lot of things say shall… it’s more of a strong suggestion.”
Musgrove argued that by the lack of a fully funded formula, some districts were receiving special treatment while others were ignored.
“To say that these school districts get a special piece of the pie from existing monies now, that’s just not correct, and Judge Singletary ruled on that in 2015,” said Snowden.
Once the arguments are heard Wednesday, it could take two months or more for a decision to come down from the state Supreme Court.