Friday, June 17, 2022

Parents' Group Says Infrastructure Appropriations To Private Schools Violate Mississippi Constitution

A parents' organization has filed suit in a Mississippi state trial court challenging two Mississippi laws that together appropriate $10 million for grants to private or nonpublic schools for water, sewer and broadband infrastructure projects.  The appropriated funds come from federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds received under the American Rescue Plan. The complaint (full text) in Parents for Public Schools v. Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, (MS Chancery Ct., filed 6/15/2022), contends that the Mississippi laws violate Section 208 of the Mississippi Constitution that provides:

No religious or other sect or sects shall ever control any part of the school or other educational funds of this state; nor shall any funds be appropriated toward the support of any sectarian school, or to any school that at the time of receiving such appropriation is not conducted as a free school.

The Mississippi ACLU issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.