Election 2015: Mississippi initiative would grant, not strip, courts of power to enforce K-12 funding

With so much focus in Kansas (various) and Texas (SJR 53) to strip courts of the power to order K-12 funding, Mississippi voters will in November 2015 decide on whether to explicitly grant that power to the courts.

Initiative 42, set to appear on the November 2015 ballot thanks to signatures gathered and a court ruling last week, would amend Section 201 of the state’s constitution to read

To protect each child’s fundamental right to educational opportunity, The Legislature the State shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may provide. The chancery courts of this State shall have the power to enforce this section with appropriate injunctive relief.

An alternative (42-A) submitted by the legislature would simply add “effective” to the existing provision.

The Legislature shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an effective system of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may prescribe.

Thus in November under Mississippi’s unique voting system on initiatives, voters will cast two votes:

  1. Supporting either or neither measure and then
  2. Voting for a preferred choice: Initiative 42 or Initiative 42-A