State officials ‘touchy’ about MAEP

Published 11:52 am Friday, November 25, 2016

An open government is a better government.

But that’s not always the way government, particularly Mississippi government, works. Too often, government officials’ knee-jerk reaction favors secrecy. Too often, government resists attempts by its citizens to obtain records that would reveal how government works.

The EdBuild contract is the most-recent example. EdBuild is advising the Legislature, at taxpayer expense, as that body considers whether to overhaul the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. At least that’s what lawmakers who entered into the contract say it is doing.

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For the longest time, the legislature would not make the EdBuild contract public. Now that they have made it public, more questions have arisen by what is not in the contract.

In other words, the simple document outlines how much EdBuild will be paid and that it should in will in the span of two months provide a plan for restructuring some $2 billion in funding. But it offers little more.

We do know that legislators are touchy about the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have routinely failed to live up to their own law and adequately fund public education. In fact, it has met the law’s standard for education funding only twice since the law was enacted in 1997.

EdBuild is supposed to submit its recommendations for how to restructure by the end of the year. The next legislative session begins Jan. 3.

We wish leaders would provide more insight as to how EdBuild plans to achieve its goals.