MS Supreme Court: School budget formula is not binding

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled that the Legislature does not have an obligation to fully fund a school budget formula that was put into law two decades ago.

The court ruled Thursday against 21 school districts that sued the state in August 2014, just after the start of the 2015 state budget year. They sought more than $235 million to make up for shortfalls when lawmakers didn’t fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

The attorney representing the districts is former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

The formula is designed to give school districts enough money to meet mid-level academic standards, but it has been short-funded most years.

A Hinds County chancery judge ruled against the school districts in 2015, saying that the formula is not a mandate. Justices upheld that ruling Thursday.

Read the court’s opinion here