Parents' Campaign President Nancy Loome explains that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula looks at the funding that would be required for every student in the state to receive at least an adequate education. To get there, the formula provides an amount of money for each student, and then counts the number of students in each district using average daily attendance.
The Legislature has decided that an "adequate" education is one that a child would receive in a school with a C rating. So the formula looks at C-rated schools and runs them through an efficiency model so as to remove any outlying schools from the formula that spend significantly more money compared to the other schools.
The chosen C-rated schools then submit all the expenditures from the previous year, and the amount is averaged among the districts. That number is divided by the number of students represented by the schools, yielding the base student cost.
That base student cost is what the state has determined is required for each child to receive an adequate education, but a portion of that cost is assigned to the local district's budget. The amount that the district is responsible for differs among districts based on its means.
So, while the amount of the state-provided base student cost varies by district, the state has decided that is the minimum required for a student to have an adequate education. Yet the state hasn't appropriated that amount since 2008.