Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves discouraged voters from supporting Educational Initiative 42 at the weekly meeting of the Columbus Rotary Club at Lion Hills at noon on Tuesday.
“When you look at what ultimately will occur if this ballot issue passes and becomes law,” he said, “I think you should be very concerned about the ultimate implications of it passing.”
Reeves claimed that if Initiative 42 becomes part of the state’s constitution, the decision-making for both educational funding and educational policy would be in the hands of the judicial branch of government, rather than the legislative branch. Specifically, he claimed, the decisions would be made by one judge in Hinds County.
Reeves went on to say that because funding for K-12 education makes up 50 percent of the state budget, the judge would have control over the other 50 percent of the budget as well.
Initiative 42 would require the state to fund an “adequate and efficient system of free public schools,” according to the funding formula of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. The initiative would also give chancery courts the power to enforce the state doing so.
“So that basically means that funding for K-12 will be decided by this Initiative 42, but funding for community colleges, funding for (institutions of higher learning) and funding for everything else in state government, for all intents and purposes, will no longer be in the legislative branch of government but will be in the judicial branch,” he said. “And it’s something that I think you should be very wary of, and I hope you will study on the issue before you make the decision about how you’re going to vote on that particular initiative.”