Published: January 6, 2005
State financing for education in Mississippi is based on a foundation formula. Under the formula, a base student cost ($3,957 for fiscal 2005) is multiplied by each district’s average daily attendance. An additional 5 percent of the base cost is then added for every student participating in the free-lunch program. The state then subtracts the required local mill levy from the amount it provides. To receive state aid, districts must levy at least a 28-mill property tax or 27 percent of the district’s foundation amount, whichever is less. Even the wealthiest districts must contribute no more to the foundation formula than 27 percent of the foundation amount. Mississippi also provides money to schools through categorical programs. The state has five such programs that support transportation, and vocational, alternative, special, and gifted-and-talented education. School districts raise money primarily through the property tax. At the state level, a portion of the sales tax is dedicated to education. Mississippi is one of just five states that have never had lawsuits challenging their school finance systems.
Vol. 24, Issue 17, Page 66