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Mississippi Schools Could See Impact of Decreased Budgets

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 22 Jul 2013 09:18am | comments
In just a few weeks Mississippi students  will return to the classroom. And for the first time since the current school funding formula was created,  school leaders say they will likely seek less money from the Mississippi Legislature.  
After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance state school board members Friday voted to approve a number of items dealing with the education of Mississippi School children. One was a preliminary budget request for the 2015 school year. The current request averages about 28.5 million dollars less than what is needed to fully fund the system in the current year.  Interim State Superintendent of Education Dr. Lynn House says unless those numbers are revised upward school districts will continue struggling.   
"So it's not just a simple case of do you need more money, do you want more money, it's around the notiion that gas has gone up, repairing buses costs more, buying text books and any other materials from technology to paper, all of those things have gone up," said House.
House says the funding decrease will also have strong instructional implications. 
"How many teachers can you afford to hire, how many tutors can you afford to hire if you want to really impact student achievement which of course what we all want to do.  So there are multiple components when you start looking at what funding is doing in our school setting."
Accountability is key For Sam Allison, Principle of New Hope Middle School in Columbus.
"You see money not used wisely, you see top heavy districts, you see districts that are very small in number with lots of administration, that's what I'm calling top heavy.  I just feel like as an overall administration, whether it be at the state level or the district level, we have to make sure that we're using our money to educate our children and if it's not successful then we can't keep doing the same thing," says Allison.   
Lawmakers have allocated much less than full funding in recent years, in part because of the downturn in state revenues. House says she believes the budget request for 2015 will increase as figures for last years spending are finalized. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News. 




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