Overhaul the MAEP

By Douglas Carswell
February 22, 2024

Mississippi's current school funding formula, the MAEP, was created in 1997. However, a generation later, it's time for a fundamental overhaul of the way we fund education. The MAEP is hideously clunky and complicated, and few even understand it. We need a transparent and easily understood system that is tailored to meet individual student needs. 

An individualized funding system means weighting the amount that every student gets above a base amount, depending on every child’s circumstances. For example, the amount ought to be adjusted to reflect the fact that a child might have special needs or be especially gifted. There needs to be some weighting for low income and concentrated poverty, perhaps, and some career and technical weighting would also help prepare young Mississippians for the workforce.

Tennessee recently showed how a weighted system can work, and now Rep. Rob Roberson’s excellent new INSPIRE bill (HB 1453, “Investing in the Needs of Students to Prioritize, Impact and Reform Education) proposes an alternative to the MAEP, rather than just some amendments to it. By adjusting the different weights for the formula, it is now perfectly possible to implement a new system in which every district is a winner, as well as the students. 

Mississippi needs a new funding formula, not just a band-aid on a system that is long past its sell-by date. Last year, Mississippi’s Senate voted by a clear majority to replace the MAEP, and now there's a clearly thought-through alternative to it. Let's start over with a formula that people believe in and will fund. 


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