State education officials making their legally-mandated push to support Mississippi’s school funding formula were questioned Tuesday in a budget hearing about rising spending on administrators and whether lawmakers should spend more money on programs not included in the formula.

The Legislature would have to add an estimated $311.7 million to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program in the 2016 budget year to provide what the formula calls an adequate amount of aid to school districts. That gap is up from $257 million this year, in part because officials will need to add more than $100 million next year to cover the second year of across-the-board teacher pay increases.

Related: >>>PLUNKETT: Time for Republicans to exorcise the education demons and fully fund MAEP

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and others are asking whether local districts are spending money wisely. He cited figures showing some schools had cut instructional spending while increasing administrative spending.

Among all districts from 2008 to 2013, spending on instruction rose 0.5 percent, while spending on general administration rose 9 percent and school administration rose 6.9 percent.

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