JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) -- The Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled the Mississippi Adequate Education Program is not a binding mandate.
The ruling was issued in a lawsuit filed by 21 school districts claiming they were owed more money because lawmakers failed to fully fund education.
The lawsuit asked the state to pay the districts $235 million they claimed they were underfunded and a permanent injunction ordering the Mississippi Legislature to fully fund education.
On Thursday, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled the constitution only says the state will provide and fund public education in the state.
Justices say the wording does not state how much the funding should be.
They also say the MAEP statute mentions the Legislature shall fully fund education, but does not say the governor has to sign the appropriations into law.
Four justices also say the judiciary did not have the legal authority under law to award unappropriated money to the districts.
They say it would be a violation of the separation of powers in the Mississippi Constitution.
The schools who filed the lawsuit include:
Clarksdale Municipal Schools
Clay County Schools
Greene County Schools
Hattiesburg Public Schools
Humphreys County Schools
Jackson Public Schools
Leake County Schools
North Bolivar Consolidated Schools
Okolona Municipal Seperate Schools
Prentiss County Schools
Simpson County Schools
Smith County Schools
Sunflower County Schools
Tate County Schools
Wayne County Schools
West Tallahatchie Schools
West Boliver Consolidated Schools
Wilkins County Schools