Oxford may pay a price for success

Published 2:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2017

Progress sometimes comes at a price.

Especially in Mississippi, when the rest of the state does not always move in accord.

Oxford, for instance, is soaring in both the arts and education. We have the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, and world-class festivals from fiber arts to Double Decker and film. We have also the best public schools in Mississippi, literally.

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Yet some leaders in Jackson are considering putting both our arts and schools at risk as our state legislature works during the 2017 session.

A bill to abolish the Mississippi Arts Commission, transferring power to the development authority, would directly strike at Oxford and its successful festivals that require funding.

Then there’s public education and the new funding formula for schools under consideration. If the legislature follows recommendations of EdBuild, the non-profit it hired as a consultant for advice on distribution funds, Oxford Schools, with the highest test scores in the state, would lose significant state funding.

Already private support is required to give our schools that extra punch. Taking needed state dollars away would make the job that much more difficult.

We hope legislators will leave the Arts Commission alone and make sure that Oxford schools are funded equally and fairly.