BY: Daarel Burnette II/Education Week

  

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, lawmakers repeatedly warned the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents.

But after a contentious political battle over school funding and the state’s constitution last fall, the association’s leaders apparently bit a little too hard. The lobbying organization launched a vigorous campaign to change the state constitution’s language to make it easier for districts to sue the state for more tax revenue.

So this year the legislators passed a bill that bans school districts from contributing local, state or federal money to the association. Of the $1.1 million in revenue, $650,000 comes from public funds, according to the Associated Press. Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law May 17.

“All of a sudden, there’s this big question,” said Scott Cantrell, the association’s president. “Can we survive? Are there any options?”

Herb Frierson, the lawmaker who wrote the legislation and successfully pushed it through the House and Senate, said the association’s leaders should’ve thought of that when they called legislators “liars and attacked their integrity.”

If the new law ultimately kills the association, Frierson shrugged.

“If it does, it does,” he said.

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