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MS Voters to Decide Between Initiative 42 and Alternative 42 on November Ballot

Mississippi Voters to Decide Between Initiative 42 and Alternative 42 on November Ballot

Two Mississippi Public School Support Amendments will be on the November 3, 2015, ballot for consideration by voters statewide. The outcome could determine the future of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), a law that provides a formula to ensure an adequate education for every child in the state.

Initiative 42 and Alternative 42 will appear on the ballot as competing measures. Voters will first be asked whether they prefer "either measure" or "neither measure," and then whether they prefer Initiative 42 or Alternative 42. If a simple majority prefers "either measure," then the amendment receiving a simple majority vote becomes law.

What is the difference between Initiative 42 and Alternative 42?

INITIATIVE 42

ALTERNATIVE 42

Requires the state government to establish, maintain and   support "an adequate and efficient system of free public schools."

Empowers Mississippi's Chancery Courts to enforce the   amendment's mandate.

Does not mandate a specific method for the state to   support "an adequate and efficient system of free public schools,"   other than that prescribed by MAEP.

Requires the state legislature to establish, maintain and   support "an effective system of free public schools upon such conditions   and limitations as the Legislature may prescribe."

Does not empower the judiciary to enforce the amendment's   mandate.

Does not provide for "an adequate... system of free   public schools," nor inscribe a "fundamental right to educational   opportunity" for each child in the Mississippi Constitution.

Initiative 42

Initiative 42 would require the state government to establish, maintain and support "an adequate and efficient system of free public schools." The Mississippi Chancery Courts would be empowered to enforce the amendment's mandate. The amendment's stated purpose is "to protect each child's fundamental right to educational opportunity."

Initiative 42 does not mandate a specific method, other than that already prescribed by the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), for the state to support "an adequate and efficient system of free public schools." Rather, the state legislature would devise a plan to meet the amendment's requirement. Initiative 42's filing petition does, however, make a recommendation about how to achieve the amendment's mandate. Proponents suggest that at least 25 percent of future general fund revenue generated from economic growth be allocated to public schools until they are adequately and efficiently funded.

Alternative 42

Alternative 42 would require the state legislature to establish, maintain and support "an effective system of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may prescribe." Unlike Initiative 42, Alternative 42 does not empower the judiciary to enforce the amendment's mandate, provide for "an adequate... system of free public schools," nor inscribe a "fundamental right to educational opportunity" for each child in the Mississippi Constitution.

Alternative 42 is the first amendment in the state's history proposed by the Mississippi Legislature to counter an initiated constitutional amendment.

According to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R), "This is the first time since 1817, and we became a state 200 years ago, that we have competing legislative amendments. We have 100,000 people who signed the petition to have one amendment and we have the legislature who has signed a counter amendment."

About MAEP

MAEP is designed to provide schools the resources necessary for adequate student achievement. MAEP provides funding for teacher and employee salaries, textbooks, operational costs, and education programs. Since 2009, the state has cumulatively underfunded the formula by about $1.5 billion. The MAEP funding requirement has only been met twice since the bill was passed by the Mississippi Legislature in 1997.

Sources:

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