Supporters of a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing “an adequate and efficient system of free public schools” in Mississippi say they’ve collected enough signatures to put a referendum on the 2015 general-election ballot.
Pearl school board President Sondra Odum said last week that 121,691 signatures of registered voters have been certified. That’s above the threshold of more than 107,216 required for a referendum.
The referendum aims to prevent lawmakers from underfunding public schools, after a seven-year period in which the state has fallen $1.53 billion short of meeting the amount mandated by its school funding formula. During that time, most districts have increased local property taxes and cut teacher jobs.
A version of this article appeared in the October 15, 2014 edition of Education Week as Petitioners Get Signatures to Put Funding on Ballot