Fair school funding systems ensure that districts, schools, and ultimately students receive significant additional funding according to their specific needs. Providing high-quality learning opportunities for students living in poverty, English learners, students with disabilities, and rural students requires additional resources.

According to The Education Trust’s State of Funding Equity, in Mississippi:

  • The highest poverty districts receive $748 or 8.4% more state and local revenue than the lowest poverty districts.
  • The districts serving the most students of color receive $839 or 9.5% more state and local revenue per student than the districts serving the fewest students of color.

For more information about how these data compare with other states or district specific information, see The Education Trust’s State of Funding Equity report.

Learn more about
how Mississippi
funds students

According to EdBuild, “Mississippi has a hybrid funding formula incorporating both resource-based and student-based elements. The state determines the cost of delivering education to a student with no special needs or services based on the cost of the resources, such as staff salaries and maintenance services, required to do so. This cost is then used as a base amount. The state also provides additional funding to educate specific categories of students, including students from low-income households, students with disabilities, students identified as gifted, students enrolled in career and technical education programs, and students in sparsely populated districts.”

The Education Law Center’s 2023 Making the Grade Report rated Mississippi’s school funding:

  • F on per-pupil funding relative to the national average.
  • C on the percentage difference in per-pupil funding in high-poverty districts relative to low-poverty districts.
  • C on the PK-12 funding as a percentage of state GDP.


Student Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity, 2021-22

Per-Pupil Expenditures, Fiscal Year 2021




Per-Pupil Expenditures

How fair is
Mississippi’s Funding?

Using criteria developed based on research, best practice, and what we believe, we provide ratings for Mississippi’s school funding formula below. Our goal is for states to build a simplified, student-weighted funding formula guided by students’ different levels of need with the goals of eliminating achievement and opportunity gaps. We aim for states to create adequate, equitable, and transparent formulas that provide clear dollar allocations by assigning additional “weights” for students from low-income families, English learners, students with disabilities, and rural students.

For more on how we determined our ratings for Mississippi click here.

See our ratings across states, an explanation of the criteria we used to differentiate between state funding systems, and explanations of our specific state rankings here.

Meets Criteria
Partially Meets Criteria
Doesn’t Meet Criteria
RatingReason for Rating
The funding formula is
student-based, or weighted
The formula is a hybrid model
Per-pupil funding is adequate enough for all students to achieve average, national test scores
There is a moderate percentage of students attending schools in inadequately funded districts
Formula includes a weight or additional funding for students living in poverty
The formula includes a 5% weight for students living in poverty
Formula includes a weight or additional funding for
English learners
The formula does not provide additional funding for English learners
Formula includes a weight or additional funding for students
with disabilities
The state funds SPED by estimating the costs of special education staff positions based on district personnel reports from the prior year
Formula includes a weight or additional funding for sparse and/or isolated districts
The state provides increased funding for sparse school districts through the state’s transporation funding system instead of being provided as a per-student weight; also funding is provided based on historical, rather than current sparsity levels, not reflecting current costs
Formula includes weights or additional funding for districts with high levels of concentrated poverty
The formula does not include a weight for concentrated poverty
State caps how much local revenue districts can raise to limit between-district disparities in local revenue
The formula sets a cap on local property tax rates, but allows higher rates to be set for debt repayments
State annually publishes information about how the funding system is designed to work in clear, plain language
The state education department publishes several documents about the funding system; the document that summarizes the funding system is not easy to locate on the website
State reports school spending data in alignment with equity-oriented principles
The state reports are partially aligned with equity-oriented school spending reporting principles
Taxpayer funds are used to maintain and support public
schools exclusively
The state has an ESA program and scholarships for students with disabilities
Sources: EdBuild

Who’s Who

in Mississippi

The Mississippi Legislature is a bicameral body. The Mississippi House of Representatives has 122 members and the State Senate has 52 members. Both the House and the Senate have standing Education Policy committees that hear all related education legislation. In 2024, the legislature will convene January 2, 2024 and adjourn no later than May 5, 2024.

State Superintendent of Education
The Mississippi State Superintendent of Education is appointed by the Mississippi Board of Education. The State Superintendent oversees the Mississippi Department of Education and the state’s PK-12 schools.

State Board of Education
The Mississippi Board of Education is composed of nine members. Three of the members are appointed by the governor from each of the state’s Supreme Court districts. Two remaining gubernatorial appointees are required to be a school administrator and a public school teacher. The lieutenant governor and speaker of the Mississippi House also each appoint two at-large members.