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Thousands demanding the legislature show the money to schools

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Thousands of people are jumping on the bandwagon to demand change from our state legislature. The root of it all is education.

"Absolutely a no brainer," said parent Josh Welch. "This is as simple as it gets."

Welch's daughter attends public school in Clinton.

"Like any parent, that is my number one priority," explained Welch. "I want to give her the best opportunities, the best chances in life. And that begins, wholeheartedly with a solid education. And if we don't properly fund our education system in the state, it's not going to happen."

The ballot initiative Better Schools, Better Jobs would require the legislature to set aside 25 percent of new revenue for education. That literally hits home for Welch, who also owns a restaurant.

"The more successful the public school, this is how you draw in better employers because employees want to live in districts," said Welch. "One of the first questions everybody asks when you move to a new area or have an offer to relocate is what is the school district like?"

State Senator David Blount spoke about the need for more money in public schools at a luncheon in Jackson Wednesday.

"The reason we need to do this is because we need to tie the hands of the legislature to do what the legislature ought to be doing," Blount told the crowd.

The legislature has only fully funded the current formula for public education twice since its creation in 1997. The amendment would change that.

"What it says is as the economy improves, we need to close that gap and move toward full funding," explained Blount.

Welch plans to do what he can to get others to sign the petition.

"The citizens need to step up and tell the legislators this is going to happen each and every year."

Organizers say they've already collected between 50-60,000 signatures state-wide. They'll have until the beginning of October to get more than 100,000 turned into the Secretary of State. If they are successful, you'll see it on the November 2015 ballot.

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