Mississippi News, a non-profit organization, could be charged with violating its promise to provide “a uniform program of free public schools.” The five-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for Mississippi News to face trial. Circuit Court of Appeals approved Thursday’s passage for a possible trial before U.S. district Judge William H. Barbour Jr. Four African American mothers filed the lawsuit against the state claiming that Mississippi’s public schools lack uniformity and fail to provide African Americans with an education comparable to white students. The lawsuit was filed in 2017. Phil Bryant described the lawsuit as “another attempt of the Southern Poverty Law Center fundraise on behalf of Mississippi taxpayers.” Governor. Tate Reeves repeatedly cited Mississippi’s progress in reading scores as evidence. Bryant was a champion of the program that helped Mississippi rank first in the country for fourth-grade math gains and reading. Reeves believed the lawsuit would make the state waste millions of dollars that could have been spent in its classrooms. Judge Barbour rejected the suit brought by the mothers last year and ruled that the state cannot be sued due to sovereign immunity. The three-judge appellate panel, consisting of three judges, reversed his decision on Thursday. The panel concluded that “the fact that a violation of the current law can be traced back to an action in the past does not preclude relief.” … (The) allegations were sufficiently forward-looking and therefore permissible.” The mother’s children attended Jackson Public Schools or Yazoo City Municipal Schools at the time of the lawsuit. Both schools had an “F” rating. The lawsuit claims that the students were without textbooks, basic supplies and experienced teachers. They also had no tutoring programs, after-school literary programs, or toilet paper. According to the lawsuit, Mississippi only mandates “free public schools” and argues that this lack of uniformity has contributed to these disparities. Indigo Williams, Indigo’s 6-year-old son, claimed that he attended Madison Station Elementary School where he was taught by veteran teachers, had Taekwondo lessons and ate fresh fruits and vegetables. But he did not have any of these at Raines Elementary school in Jackson. A Millsaps College/Chism Strategy State of the State Survey last year showed that nearly 70% of voters believed public schools should be given more funding. These same voters also voted for a raise in the salaries of teachers. Reeves’ first bill was signed into law in January. This ensured that the $1500 raise for teachers in 2019 would be fully paid. Spending on public schools based on race. In 1868, Mississippi hosted its first Constitutional Convention. This was the first time that African Americans were permitted to take part. Their groundbreaking Constitution established a “uniform system of free public schools” that was available to all children from 5 to 21 years old. It also divided school funds equally among all children. The state was re-admitted to the Union two years later. It promised not to alter its state constitution to “deprive anyone or any class of citizens of school rights and privileges” as guaranteed by the Constitution. The lawsuit claims that Mississippi failed to keep its promise of “uniform” public school systems for long. The lawsuit claims that Mississippi failed to keep its promise to “uniform” public schools for many years. In 1890, violence, fraud, and a new Constitution put an end to black voter participation, thereby restoring white supremacy to power. White policymakers were back in control, tax revenues were cut, school funding was cut, and segregation resumed. State officials used prejudice, favoritism and the law to send most of the money to all-white public schools. Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed “separate, but equal” schools in America, Mississippi’s segregated schools are far from equal. The state spent twice as much money on black students in 1890 than it did on white students. In 1935, the state had spent three times as much on white students than it did on black students. Even though they made up 57% of school-aged children, African-American students only received 13 percent of education funding by World War II. Black teachers who were paid the same as white teachers in 1877-1885 now earn only 38 percent less than white teachers. A 1952 report by a state legislative committee on education stated that Mississippi’s rural schools were “pathetic”. Hundreds of children from Mississippi are forced to attend school in unpainted, unheated, and unlighted buildings, which are “not fit for human habitation” and should have been condemned many years ago. Districts continued to spend on racial basis despite the 1954 Supreme Court ruling. The average Glendora white student received $464 in funding. The average black student receives $464 in funding. Below $14 The Mississippi Center for Investigative reporting found that between 1890-1860, black students received more than $25 Billion in modern dollars less than white students. The four mothers are represented by William B. Bardwell, Christine Bischoff, Jason Zarow, and others from the O’Melveny & Myers New York City law firm, Rita and Bill Bender, of Skellenger Bender in Seattle. They are both veterans of civil rights movements, Rita Bender participated in Mississippi’s Freedom Summer. Her husband, Michael Schwerner was killed by the Ku Klux Klan along with James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and others who worked in the movement. Edgar Ray Killen was convicted in 2005 of orchestrating the murders. He died in prison in 2018. Rita Bender stated that she was anxious to bring the case to trial. She said that Edgar Ray Killen, who was convicted of orchestrating the killings, died in 2018. Subscribe to MCIR’s newsletters.