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State Auditor’s Report Highlights Misallocation of Education Funds in Mississippi



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JACKSON, Miss. – A report from State Auditor Shad White‘s office reveals that administrative spending in Mississippi’s public education system continues to outpace in-classroom funds, even as student enrollment declines. The report, issued in March, echoes similar findings from previous years.

From 2006 to 2016, education spending in Mississippi increased for administrative positions while the number of teachers and students decreased. If administrative spending had stayed level during that decade, the state could have used $358 million annually for teacher pay raises.

Mississippi’s school districts spend a higher percentage on administrative costs compared to other Southern states. The recent report indicates Mississippi spends 9.59% of education funding on administrative expenses, compared to Florida’s 6.42% and the regional average of 8.20%.

The report suggests that by reducing administrative costs to the national average, Mississippi could invest over $144 million annually into classrooms, potentially providing every teacher with a $4,500 raise. Despite declining student attendance, administrative spending has increased by 6.51%, while classroom spending has dropped by 7.76%.

Best approach

During this year’s legislative session, lawmakers adopted a new K-12 funding formula. The formula provides $230 million more for schools but prevents using the extra funds for administrative pay. State legislators, including Rep. Rob Roberson and Sen. Dennis DeBar, acknowledge the need to address these findings. They plan to examine the report further as they prepare for the 2025 legislative session.

Rep. Roberson suggests consolidating administrative positions in smaller districts to reduce costs. He plans to carefully consider the best approach to ensure effective use of education dollars.

The Auditor’s report highlights the need for school districts to seek approval from the State Board of Education when increasing administrative spending. This is especially important when student numbers are declining. The Mississippi Department of Education notes that funding decisions are made at the local level. However, since 70% of district funding comes from the state, legislators like Rep. Roberson believe the state should ensure those funds are managed properly.

Rep. Roberson’s goal is to provide the best possible outcomes for Mississippi’s students. Whether it be through more funding, better spending, or both.

This article originally appeared in the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under fair use.

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