Former governor Ronnie Musgrove

More than a year after the last action in the case, Mississippi Supreme Court justices will hear arguments from both sides of a lawsuit that seeks to require the state to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

Former Democratic governor Ronnie Musgrove filed the lawsuit on behalf of 21 school districts, including Jackson Public Schools, in 2014. Hinds County Chancery Judge William Singletary ruled against Musgrove and the school districts in 2015, stating that the Legislature is not required to fully fund the school funding formula every year.

The lawsuit also sought for the state to repay the districts the amount they had been underfunded according to the formula. The MAEP has been fully funded only twice since becoming law in 1997.

The plaintiffs appealed Singletary’s ruling and are seeking a favorable decision from the Supreme Court.

Arguments will begin at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Each side will have 30 minutes.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.