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Mississippi Schools Sue for Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

Iris Barnes

JACKSON, Miss. – Fourteen public school districts filed suit Thursday against the State of Mississippi, claiming they have been shortchanged over the past six years by the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAPE) – the state’s public school funding formula.

The suit, filed in Hinds County Chancery Court, asks for repayment of the $115 million the districts say they are owed.  Plaintiffs also want the court to force lawmakers to never again underfund the program.

The districts suing are: Clarksdale, Clay County, Greenville, Hattiesburg, Leake County, Okolona, Prentiss County, Richton, Simpson County, Smith County, Tate County, Wayne County, West Tallahatchie and Wilkinson County.

“These districts all have an immediate need,” said former Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove at a Monday afternoon press conference in Jackson to announce the suit.  “They cannot wait another eight or ten years for the program to be fully funded.”

Musgrove, who had a key role in getting the original MAPE legislation passed is leading the case. He said other districts are considering joining the suit and he expects many of them will.

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