Initiative 42 and the Legislative Alternative 42A are a ballot initiatives to change Mississippi’s Constitution with respect to public education. The ballot is long and detailed so every voter must study this issue before voting November 3rd. The specific changes to the State Constitution can be studied here.
The anticipated results or consequences vary widely. Proponents say Initiative 42 will require the Legislature to fully fund MAEP (the State’s funding formula for public schools) and phase it in over a number of years based upon state tax revenues. Opponents say Initiative 42 will seriously impact the state budget, reduce other state services including public universities and community colleges, and could tie-up all kinds of education issues in the courts.
Facts about Initiative 42:
- The initiative will change the wording of Section 201 of the State Constitution if approved by voters. Section 201 is Mississippi’s constitutional provision for public schools.
- Lawmakers and judges are bound only by the language in the Constitution–not the language of the petition or even the language on the ballot.
- Any legal challenges brought under the proposed language for the Constitution would be filed in Hinds County Chancery Court as are all legal actions against the State.
- The proposed language for the Constitution does not specifically mention funding or MAEP.
- There is no proposed language on the ballot or proposed language for the Constitution that requires phasing in funding increases or ties the increases to state tax revenues.
- There is nothing in the proposed constitutional language that requires or prohibits tax increases to support potential education funding changes.
Facts about education funding in Mississippi:
- Since adopted by the Mississippi Legislature in 1997, the MAEP formula has been fully funded twice (2003 and 2007).
- In the 4 years since 1997 that Democrats controlled the Governorship, the State Senate, and State House (2000-2003), MAEP was fully funded once.
- In 2007, when MAEP was fully funded the second time, Republicans controlled the Governorship and the Senate while Democrats controlled the House.
- In the 4 years Republicans have controlled of all three branches (2012-2015), MAEP has not been fully funded.
- The Legislature approved a record $2.52 billion for public education funding in 2016, an increase of $285 million over the 2015 budget.
Additional information about Initiative 42 and Alternative 42A:
- MCPP: Initiative 42 & Alternative 42A: Proposed Constitutional Amendments Regarding Public Schools
- Blessings of Liberty: 2015 Ballot Battle Over MAEP Set
- Ballot Box Confusion: How to Entry Vote on Initiative 42
- Ballotpedia: Mississippi Public School Support Amendments, Initiative 42 and Alternative 42
- The Constitution of the State of Mississippi
- Clarion-Ledger: A voter guide to Initiative 42 ballot
Support for Initiative 42 can be found at the following locations:
- 42 for Better Schools: What is Initiative 42?
- Funding for your Kid’s School: What Supporters Say Initiative 42 Means For Your Kids
- Clarion-Ledger: Support Initiative 42, ignore scare tactics: Column
- The Parents’ Campaign:
Opposition to Initiative 42 can be found at the following locations:
- Kids First Mississippi: Initiative 42 is Bad for Our Kids & Bad for Mississippi
- Mississippi’s Universities and Community Colleges Ask for Budget Increases: Lawmakers Say Initiative 42 Could Cause Decreases Instead
- Initiative 42, Fully Funding Mississippi Schools: Could Have Detrimental Impact on State Budget, Say Lawmakers