According to data from a recent report by the state's legislative watchdog committee, the public school districts in the Jackson metro area and other large cities statewide tend to receive a higher proportion of their revenues from local rather than state sources.
The Madison County School District sources the fourth-highest percentage of its revenues from local taxes according to data from fiscal 2020.
The report by the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, says Mississippi's public school districts received approximately $23.8 billion from all government sources (state, local and federal funds) from fiscal 2016 to 2020. 51 percent of this ($12.1 billion) came from state sources, 35 percent originated from local sources and the remaining 14 percent ($3.4 billion) came from the federal government.
As far as state revenues go, Madison County schools received 43 percent of their funds from state sources, ranking 129 out of 146 districts statewide.
The average is 50.8 percent from state sources and 35.7 percent from local taxes.
State funds are distributed using the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, a funding formula designed to ensure every school district gets adequate funding from the state. It takes into account factors such as average daily attendance, number of teachers per 1,000 students and the number of impoverished students. Using successful school districts as a baseline, the numbers are recalculated every four years and are adjusted for inflation with numbers provided by the state economist.
Local funds are based on ad valorem taxes assessed at 10 percent of the value of real property, with the millage rates determined by city and county elected officials.
The Jackson Public School District was ranked 118th in terms of funds from state sources (45 percent) and 36th most in terms of the percentage of local funds (38 percent). Clinton was similar in fiscal 2020, with 53 percent of its funds originating from state sources (ranked 66th) and 38 percent coming from local sources (34th most statewide).
Hinds County schools received 34 percent of their revenues from state sources (ranked 128th) and 46 percent from local taxes, which was 11th most.
Canton was 131st in terms of state revenue as a percentage of its budget (43 percent in fiscal 2020) while local revenues accounted for 44 percent of its budget, ranking it 15th.
In Rankin County, the county school district ranked 110th statewide with 47 percent of its budget coming from state funds and 12th in terms of local revenue support (45 percent of the district's budget).
Pearl schools sourced 52 percent of their revenue from state sources (ranked 83rd) and 38 percent from local sources (37th highest).
The Oxford School District is first in terms of local revenue as a percentage of its funds, with 58 percent of its revenues coming from property taxes and other local sources. Choctaw County was second with 55 percent of its budget coming from local funds, Pascagoula (53 percent from local sources) was third and Tunica County was fifth with 49 percent of its funds originating locally.
The tiny Union City School District in north Mississippi was first in terms of its revenue coming from state funds (more than $6.3 million in fiscal 2020 or 67 percent of its funds) and last in local contribution with 16 percent originating from local taxes.
Nettleton's school district was second with 67 percent of its funds coming from MAEP, followed by Scott County (67 percent) in third, Pontotoc County (67 percent) and Prentiss County in fifth with 66 percent.
On the coast, Biloxi's school district sourced 45 percent of its budget from local funds (134th most by percentage) and 41 percent from state funds (ranking it 14th highest). Neighboring Gulfport received 46 percent from the state and 40 percent from local sources.
Harrison County schools received 48 percent of their funds from the state and 37 percent from local taxes. Ocean Springs was ranked 55th in state funding percentage (55 percent) and 42nd in local revenues (37 percent), while Jackson County schools ranked 104th (48 percent from state funds) and 19th for local contributions (42 percent).
In the Pine Belt, Hattiesburg received 42 percent of its revenue from local sources (22nd highest) while its state contribution of 41 percent of its revenues was 135th. Forrest County's revenues came from 41 percent state funds (ranked 136th) and 43 percent of its funds came from local sources (18th highest). Lamar County received 54 percent of its funds from state sources (63rd highest) and 37 percent from local revenues (43rd highest).
Jones County and Laurel schools both received similar rankings, with Jones getting 58 percent of its funds from the state (36th highest) and 29 percent originating locally (89th highest). Laurel schools were ranked 120th highest in state funds (45 percent) and 40 percent locally (27th highest).
In the Delta, the Greenwood/LeFlore Consolidated School District received 50 percent of its funding from the state (91st most) and 27 percent from local sources (106th most). Greenville was similar, with 52 percent of its funds coming from the state (75th most) and 23 percent from local sources (121st most).
Clarksdale received 53 percent of its funds from the state (82nd highest) while local sources accounted for 34 percent of revenues, ranking it 54th highest).
In north Mississippi, DeSoto County received 56 percent of its revenues (ranking it 50th most) from state sources and 36 percent from local funds (45th most). Tupelo's revenues for schools came mostly from local sources (46 percent or 10th highest), followed by state sources (44 percent or 126th highest).
Starkville Oktibbeha sourced most of its revenues locally (48 percent or eighth highest) and received 39 percent of its funds from state sources (139th most).
Using data from fiscal 2019, the report found that Mississippi is tied with Tennessee in terms of the percentage of school funds coming from state sources and less than Louisiana (43 percent) and Arkansas (48 percent). Alabama had the highest percentage of its school funding coming from state sources at 56 percent.
In 2019, Mississippi had the lowest per-student spending per student regionally at $10,240. Louisiana had the most at $12,507, but its state constitution requires annual full funding of its funding formula and this hamstrings their Legislature when cuts have to be made.
According to the federal report card on test scores, the Pelican State trailed the national average on both fourth grade math and reading in 2019. In comparison, Mississippi was slightly above the national average (241 vs the national average of 240) for fourth grade math and slightly below average on fourth grade reading.
Tennessee met the national average despite spending only $10,390 per student, second least regionally. Alabama and Arkansas schools didn't meet the national average in 2019 for fourth grade math and reading despite spending $11,507 and $11,564 per student respectively.