"Ronnie Musgrove, the former one-term governor of Mississippi and the attorney leading the charge on behalf of the school districts in this lawsuit hopes to force the state to repay over $1.5 billion it has shorted the school school districts since 2008.
Those who criticize Musgrove’s efforts argue the lawsuit is a stunt at best and a money grab at worst. For Musgrove this is probably personal. Musgrove has stated that he wrote the Mississippi Adequate Education Program while serving as a state senator. Although according to documents, Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory is credited for authoring Senate Bill 2649 that was eventually signed into law. As a lieutenant governor, Musgrove marshaled the votes necessary to override Kirk Fordice’s veto of MAEP. While serving as governor, Musgrove “adequately” funded the Mississippi’s Adequate Education Program only for the 2004 fiscal year, as part of his re-election campaign in 2003.
But before we get cynical about Musgrove, Haley Barbour did the same thing in 2007 as part of his re-election campaign, fully funding MAEP for the 2008 fiscal year. It’s the only two times that the state has met its commitment to its public schools. Gives a clear idea of how the leadership in both of Mississippi’s political parties view the importance of education. Our children’s education and our future has been an ugly political game for far too long in this state.
In the past legislative session, there were $500 million in new monies for the state, $400 million of those new monies went into the Rainy Day Fund under the direction of our legislative leaders, while our public schools budgets were underfunded according to the MAEP formula by $257 million.”