Public education in Mississippi

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K-12 Education in Mississippi
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Carey Wright
Number of students: 490,619[1]
Number of teachers: 32,007
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:15.3
Number of school districts: 163
Number of schools: 1,069
Graduation rate: 75%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $7,928[3]
See also
Mississippi Department of EducationMississippi school districtsList of school districts in MississippiMississippiSchool boards portal
Education policy logo.jpg
Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Mississippi
Glossary of education terms
The Mississippi public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards members and superintendents. Mississippi has 162 school districts.

The Mississippi state constitution requires that the Legislature provide for the "establishment, maintenance and support of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may prescribe."[4]

School revenues, expenditures and budget

See also: Mississippi state budget
Mississippi's education costs are 45% of the state spending

K-12 education received $2.035 billion in the FY2013 Mississippi state budget, a $19 million increase over FY2012, but $251 million less than the state funding formula, called the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MEAP), required. That funding formula determines what the state the school board must ask lawmakers to provide. For FY2013, MEAP calls for $2.356 billion, an increase of 16 percent, or $321 million, over FY2013.[5]

The Legislature appropriated $500,000 to study the MEAP funding formula this year. The legislature has fully funded the amount determined by MEAP only twice since it took full effect in 2002.[5]

The Mississippi FY 2010 General Fund is funded by sales tax (39%) and individual income taxes (31%). According to state officials, education accounts for 62%, $2.9 billion of General Fund expenditures. Specifically, K-12 education is $2.1 billion and postsecondary education is $820 million.[6] The state of Mississippi faced a $363 million deficit for FY 2009, $480 million deficit for FY 2010 with an estimated shortfall of $544 million for FY 2011.[7]

The cost per pupil is $7,901, ranking 46th in the nation according the Census Bureau 2007-2008 report.[8]

Personnel salaries

According to state officials, in the 2009-2010 school year the base annual teacher salary with a bachelor's degree was approximately $30,900, as compared to the 2005-2006 base salary of $30,000. The average base salary with a master's degree was $32,960, compared to a base salary with a doctorate degree is $35,020 for the 2009-2010 school year.[9][10]

School year Bachelor's base salary Master's base salary Doctorate base salary
2005-2006[10] $30,000 $32,000 $34,000
2006-2007[11] $30,000 $32,000 $34,000
2007-2008[12] $30,900 $32,960 $35,020
2008-2009[13] $30,900 $32,960 $35,020
2009-2010[9] $30,900 $32,960 $35,020

Role of unions

The main union related to the Mississippi school system is the Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE).[14] According to reports, MAE had a total revenue of $1,639,194 during the 2003 tax period. Another statewide union is AFT Mississippi. A local school union in Mississippi is AFT Biloxi, which had in 2003 total revenues of $343,958.[15]

Role of school boards

The State Board of Education is comprised of nine members. The board also consists of the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the state public school Superintendent. The governor appoints 5 members, while the lieutenant governor appoints two and the Speaker of the House appoints two. The board is responsible for management and investment of school funds according to law; academic performance; setting the academic curriculum.[16][17]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: Mississippi government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Mississippi School Boards Association.


Mississippi has a new statewide, official spending database online. Mississippi House Bill 101 (2008), Mississippi Accountability and Transparency Act mandated the creation of such a website.[18] The state has also launched the State of Mississippi Management and Reporting System. This site provides information on the State Budget, State Property, Revenues, Vendors, and State Employees.

Academic performance

According to the Mississippi Department of Education the state has not met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements in mathematics and reading from the 2005-2006 through the 2007-2008 school years. AYP is used by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program to determine the academic performance of schools. In the 2008-2009 school year the Mississippi school system had a total enrollment of approximately 491,194. The state did, however, meet reading AYP requirements.[19]

Year Math AYP Reading AYP Other Academic Indicators
2005-2006[20] Not met Not met Met
2006-2007[21] Not met Not met Met
2007-2008[22] Not met Not met Met
2008-2009[19] - Met -

State Budget Solutions’ Education Study: “Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working”

State Budget Solutions’ examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. Download the full report here: Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working.

See National Chart to compare data from all 50 states.

State Spending on Education vs. Academic Performance 2012

State 2011 Total Spending[23] 2011 Education Spending[24] 2011 Percent Education Spending 2012 Total Spending[25] 2012 Education Spending[26] 2012 Percent Education Spending 2010 Avg. ACT score[27] 2011 Avg. ACT score[28] 2012 Avg. ACT score[29] 2010 Graduation Rate[30] 2011 Graduation Rate[31]
Mississippi $26.6 billion $7.6 billion 28.5% $27.1 billion $7.7 billion 28.4% 18.8 18.7 18.7 63.6% 63.9%

School choice

School choice options include:

  • Charter schools: The state of Mississippi had a reported one charter school in 2008. An estimated 367 students were enrolled. According to the Center for Education Reform, Mississippi has one of the weakest charter school laws in th nation.[32]
  • Public school open enrollment: the state of Mississippi has one open enrollment policy: inter-district. In other words, students are permitted to attend a different school outside of their school district. However, the transfer must be approved by both school boards of related school districts.[33]
  • Online learning: Mississippi has a state-led online program - the Mississippi Virtual Public School (MVPS). According to MVPS the program was created for students who are unable to attend school for medical reasons; students interested in taking Advanced Placement courses or courses not offered in their home schools; or students that "need intervention" or are already in alternative schools.[34]Additionally some districts throughout the state offer district specific online learning, which according to The Heritage Foundation are mostly for credit recovery purposes.[32]

External links


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. Mississippi Constitution,"Article VIII, Section 201," accessed May 5, 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Clarion Ledger "Mississippi public schools to seek $320M increase for 2014 budget year" July 20, 2012
  6. Joint Legislative Budget Committee, "Budget FY 2010," July 20, 2009
  7. Gov. Barbour, "FY 2010 Modified Budget Recommendation," May 2009
  8. Maine Watchdog, Education Spending Per Child, July 6, 2010
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mississippi Department of Education,"Salary Schedule 2009-2010," accessed May 8, 2010
  10. 10.0 10.1 Mississippi Department of Education,"Salary Schedule 2005-2006," accessed May 8, 2010
  11. Mississippi Department of Education,"Salary Schedule 2006-2007," accessed May 8, 2010
  12. Mississippi Department of Education,"Salary Schedule 2007-2008," accessed May 8, 2010
  13. Mississippi Department of Education,"Salary Schedule 2008-2009," accessed May 8, 2010
  14. Mississippi Association of Educators,"Main Page," accessed May 5, 2010
  15. Center for Union Facts,"Mississippi teachers unions," accessed May 5, 2010
  16. Mississippi Constitution,"Article VIII, Section 203," accessed May 5, 2010
  17. Mississippi Department of Education,"Mississippi Board of Education," accessed May 5, 2010
  18. National Taxpayers Union, "Nation's Largest Taxpayer Group Applauds Mississippi for Passing Spending Transparency Legislation," April 17, 2008
  19. 19.0 19.1 Mississippi Department of Education,"Mississippi Assessment and Accountability Reporting System - Accountability 2008/2009," accessed May 6, 2010
  20. Mississippi Department of Education,"Mississippi Assessment and Accountability Reporting System - Accountability 2005/2006," accessed May 6, 2010
  21. Mississippi Department of Education,"Mississippi Assessment and Accountability Reporting System - Accountability 2006/2007," accessed May 6, 2010
  22. Mississippi Department of Education,"Mississippi Assessment and Accountability Reporting System - Accountability 2007/2008," accessed May 6, 2010
  23. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  24. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  25. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  26. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  27. 2010 ACT National and State Scores "Average Scores by State"
  28. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  29. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  30. National Center for Education Statistics
  31. National Center for Education Statistics
  32. 32.0 32.1 The Heritage Foundation,"Mississippi School Choice," accessed May 6, 2010
  33. Education Commission of the States,"Open Enrollment: 50-State Report," accessed May 1, 2010
  34. Mississippi Virtual Public School,"About MVPS," accessed May 6, 2010