Friday, November 11, 2016

Cecil Brown: Don't screw it up.

Mississippi legislative leaders have announced they have hired EdBuild, a New Jersey based education consulting firm, to review the state’s public education funding formula, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP). A review of the formula is appropriate and timely. In fact, every public program should be reviewed periodically for efficiency, effectiveness and need.

MAEP was adopted by the legislature in 1997 in part as a reaction to litigation in a number of states over funding disparities among school districts. Basically the argument was that wealthier districts, those with high property tax values, were being provided more resources than poorer districts, those with low property tax values – the equity issue. To avoid such litigation the MAEP formula accounts for wealth disparities by providing the same “base student cost” level of funding per student for every district. The goal of MAEP is to ensure each district enough money to provide every child with the opportunity for an “adequate” education. MAEP comes close to addressing both the adequacy and equity issues.

There is the wide perception that MAEP has not been reviewed by the legislature since its 1997 adoption. That perception is not true. In 2005 the legislature established a commission to review the formula. The 17 member commission consisted of legislators, the State Auditor, the State Superintendent of Education and his Associate Superintendent for Accountability, a school superintendent appointed by Governor Barbour, a school business administrator, a member of the State Board of Education, and the Executive Director of the Legislative Budget Office. Then Senator and current Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney and I were co-chairmen. The committee retained the well-respected Augenblick, Palaich firm to review the formula and to recommend any needed changes. That was the same firm hired by the legislature to help design the original 1997 MAEP legislation.

Based on the work of the experts and input from stakeholders, including those who attended a public hearing, the Commission issued its report prior to the 2016 legislative session. The report did not recommend major changes to the MAEP formula, but there were several recommendations for minor adjustments.

Using the Commission report and following the normal legislative committee process the legislature reauthorized the adjusted MAEP formula in its 2006 session. Interestingly, current Speaker Philip Gunn voted yes on reauthorization, and then Lt. Governor Phil Bryant and then Governor Haley Barbour both approved it.

The point of all of this history is that MAEP is not just some formula that was pulled out of the air by a bunch of liberal legislators. It was carefully crafted, fully vetted, thoroughly debated by the House and the Senate and passed with bi-partisan support – twice.

As has been repeatedly reported, since its original adoption in 1997 only two times has MAEP been funded in accordance with the law. There are lots of reasons for the failure to fund, and there is no reason to point fingers. The issue is not what has happened in the past. The question should always be how are we going to ensure that every child in Mississippi has access to a quality education, and how will we pay for it?

We will probably never know what education in Mississippi would have looked like had MAEP been funded in accordance with the law. In the 19 years since it was first adopted more than 500,000 kids have graduated from Mississippi public schools, and another 460,000 are currently enrolled. Obviously a quality system of public education is of vital importance to our future. We should be careful that the pending review is independent of any preconceived notion about its outcome.

Finally, if we are going to modify the education funding formula in any substantive way, the message to the decision makers should be simple – Don’t screw it up.

Cecil Brown submitted this column to JJ.  He is the Public Service Commissioner for the Central District of Mississippi. 


Pappy Odaniel said...

Absolute waste of money we don't have. The State Auditors office can't perform this? The people we hire to work in MDE can't figure out what the problem is? WTH? Oh no, they were hired to perform specific duties that exclude any requirement to improve the organization.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, Commissioner Brown, but you and your buddies in the McCoy led House of Representatives wouldn't allow any significant changes in the formula. And it was convenient that you picked the company that established the original formula to decide if anything needed changing in their first work.

Yes, I am sure Barbour, Feel, and others might have 'agreed' to the recommendations but oftentimes you take the best that you think you can get. Knowing that you, Bobby, and Billy weren't letting any needed changes get out of committee much less out of the chamber doesn't mean that their 'acceptance' was acknowledging that was all that needed doing.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great that the legislature pay someone to review the formula before they ignore it again

Anonymous said...

I was unaware the Public Service Commission was so involved with education. But if Cecil really wanted to have a say in education, he should of run for re-election and worked to convince Northeast Jackson why they should be represented by a liberal Democrat. We (including Cecil) all know how that would have turned out.

Oh Lort, Cecil! .. said...

Doesn't Brown-Frown have enough to do in his new role with the PSC? Like stopping all the damned robo calls his staff say they can't do anything about?

But, regarding this..."A review of the formula is appropriate and timely. In fact, every public program should be reviewed periodically for efficiency, effectiveness and need.".... Isn't that what we have PEER for? Is it really necessary to send a team of automotive engineers to evaluate the road-worthiness of a rusted out Volvo that's been in a roadside ditch for twenty years?

More and larger government, more tax dollars pissed away, more can-kicking.

Anonymous said...

Every time someone calls Cecil Brown a " liberal" , I fall out of my chair laughing.
When it comes to fiscal matters, Cecil makes Republicans and the Tea Party look like drunken sailors on a spending binge!
I also know the person is politically ignorant and doesn't know that Cecil's political history.
Cecil is a CPA and one of the few who passed all 4 parts of the exam the first time he took it. He is also qualified to give forensic accounting testimony.
He has managed our money, first as our accountant and then as our financial manager long before he ran for office. We also know how he lives, which is far more modestly than any politician I've ever seen.
He's the only politicians has returned campaign donations that were unspent on a pro-rated basis.
Our current excuse for the GOP had to gerrymander him out of a Republican districts where the majority of Republicans knew him well enough to vote for him and contribute to his campaign to get him out of the legislature as he actually would try to stop their corrupt spending and he ( gasp) actually wants all children to get as good an education as we can give them rather than try to destroy public education.
That's why he won Public Service Commissioner in an otherwise solidly GOP district. We know him. We know he's not only tight with a dollar but he has a habit that annoys other politicians...he tells the truth.
Truth telling and usually being the smartest guy in the room makes it awfully hard for the corrupt politicians to get by with lining their own pockets!

Anonymous said...

3:51 pm That may be one of the most ridiculous comments I've ever read.

Are you suggesting that since I don't teach anymore, I shouldn't be able to publicly express an opinion on education based on my years of experience?

Did he give up his rights as a citizen?

You apparently can't take issue with his message, so you attack the messenger.

Are you ignorant or do you have a hidden agenda?

Anonymous said...

That's why he won Public Service Commissioner in an otherwise solidly GOP district.

A review of the voting precincts in that district proves you incorrect.

When it comes to fiscal matters, Cecil makes Republicans and the Tea Party look like drunken sailors on a spending binge!

Except when it comes to tax increases where you'll find Cecil happily with the other Donkeys feeding in the pig trough.

The fact that Cecil didn't take a stand and run against Bill Denny straight up for the newly reconfigured House district (which includes Cecil's longtime Eastover base) exposes your portrayal of Cecil as some sort of Uberlegislator as pablum.

Dorsey Carson at least had the stones to give it a try.

Cecil Wasted His Time.. said...

Now that Cecil has switched from playing baseball to playing football, it seems entirely appropriate that he would spend his time opining about the distance between bases....said nobody ever.

But, thank you for posting his resume.

Anonymous said...

7:10 you will keep falling out of your chair for a long time, and it's not from laughing, it's the moronic nonsense that comes out of your pie hole. The fact that you think his district is sold republican is just to much. Life must be long and hard for people like you. lol

Anonymous said...

Hell, 2:59, if Bill Denny can win it obviously it is solid Republican. Bill hasn't done a damn thing in years - although like his friend also from that district he thinks he is the cause of most everything good.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 5:24 pm I guess " solidly Republican" means to 7:59,2:56 and 2:59 that no one ever votes Democratic in a district.

Their logic is so faulty that I'm still laughing. I sure they apply for jobs they know they have no shot at getting all the time and stay in jobs in which they can no longer contribute due to the hostility.

I'm sure they never listen to former players or coaches on ESPN. After all, what could Archie Manning tell them about football since he doesn't play anymore?

They are the just say " no" to taxes people without a clue about where our taxes are going or what expenses have to be paid. They just don't want to pay any but they want good roads and security and want the State to give parents a voucher or pay for charter schools

And, I'm sure they never compared the Mabus budget to any of Fordice or Bryant's or Barbour's budgets. Or what Mabus did as State Auditor versus his GOP successors.

But, then that would mean looking at facts rather than marching lock step.

Anonymous said...

7:04, it has been many years since either political party has spent very much of our tax money on the roads and security of our state. Not likely to change in the future no matter which political party is in power.

Anonymous said...

Not spent much money on the roads of our state? Would love to know what you think is "very much" since a billion dollars a year qualifies for you as 'not much'.

Anonymous said...

3:34, yes it sounds like a lot of money. Now look at the condition of the roads and bridges in our state. How much of that money was actually going toward work on the roads and bridges? We already know how our money for the prison system was spent. Just from driving on our roads I would guess the money spent on our roads went the same way.

Mississippi Leads said...

With the exception of the interstate system, which the state DOT has no control over, compare our roads to those in adjoining states and you'll see we are ahead, by far.

Anonymous said...

4:39 - Love it. "You would guess". "How much is actually". "It sounds like a lot".

Obviously you know all that there is needed to know to express yourself.

Which roads are you driving on to make this wonderful engineering and actuarial analysis of our infrastructure? Have you driven on I-20 either east of Jackson to Brandon, or I-20 west to Vicksburg? How about the new work done on I-55 north to Madison, including all the new lanes? I guess those construction projects were just done by waving your magic wand over them.

How about the $4 million that is going to resurface Highland Colony in case you don't want to deal with the interstates? Or the new bridge in Madison connecting to Highway 51? Don't know if you've been down Hwy 49 south but there has been a lot of work ongoing to move utilities so that they can rebuild that highway and add lanes. But those things don't cost much money.

Others could be named if you don't want to deal with the Jackson area. But obviously your analysis is much better - but before you make your final analysis better drive through Louisiana, or Alabama and check out their highways first. I know you already know the answer, but just suggesting.

And no - I don't work for MDOT. Don't have any family there either. And I don't give a damn about them. But I just get fed up with idiotic statements like yours. Especially on a post that deals with Public Service Commissioners and with education.

Anonymous said...

I drive for a living. I cross more states in a week than many people cross in their lifetime. The roads in Mississippi are not any better than other states and a hell of a lot worse than most.
I do live in Mississippi, just off of 49hwy. Saw a man last week have to pull over on hwy49 between Florence and Richland when the spare tire under his pickup shook loose after going over some of the bumps in the road. Funny thing, he was driving a 4 wheel drive jeep. Imagine what would have happened if he wasn't on one of Mississippi's finest roads.

Anonymous said...

And Hwy 49 is under the first phase of total reconstruction now, thank you. It is going to be one of the most disruptive construction programs most people have ever had to deal with - and expensive.

Don't believe anyone said the roads are 'any better' than other states but I challenge you to show where they are worse. I know driving I-20 from GA to TX would put MS as the best, except of course for that five mile stretch at Forest where the Yazoo clay keeps screwing it up.

And I'll take 10 in MS over LA's as well. Besides the condition of the road the capacity is part of the equation. Ever get caught in that mess around Baton Rouge? Want to put that up against what we've avoided here.

Still question what you think would be 'very much'? While you are driving you can start doing the math and report back.

Tail Piper said...

To Bubba, the professional driver who posted at 7:14. Newsflash! A spare tire coming loose from underneath a Jeep has more to do with an inefficient or damaged tire-securing-device than it does bumps in the road on Highway 49. Imagine what would have happened had his tire been screwed down a little better. Nothing.

Anonymous said...

2:34, do you not understand how the rough roads damage vehicles? Do a little search on how many lawsuits Ms. and cities in Ms. have against them for poor roads causing damage to their cars. Pleas just give the number of cases in our capital city alone.

2016 Hottest Reporter Poll

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Who is the hottest reporter?


Who is the Hottest Reporter in Jackson?

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS