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State Education Officials React to Budget Compromise

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 01 Apr 2011 01:19pm | comments
Hundreds rallied in support of education in the days before the compromise.

Mississippi Law makers will be back at the capitol this morning to finish up work on the budget for the fiscal year that begins July first. The budget compromise came after days of tense negotiation...and education was one of the key sticking points. One of the biggest parts of the budget is education. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports on how state education officials are reacting.

Public education takes up the biggest portion of the state budget, totaling more than 2-billion dollars.

After reaching a budget compromise last week, House education chairman Cecil Brown of Jackson says education got a good deal.

"Well it is a huge win for education. It is not the House versus the Senate. You got to remember the house and the Senate passed a budget that included a full funding or level funding of K-12," Brown said.

Although there is disagreement over how much less education will receive for the next fiscal year, calculation range from 5 to 14 million less than this year.

Kevin Gilbert, the president of the Mississippi Association of Educators, says he is pleased overall but still thinks the budget is too tight.

"We are still probably looking at program cuts. We are still probably looking at further teacher reductions. And again, the only individuals that are really going to suffer from this are our students because schools are going to do whatever they have to to keep the doors open," Gilbert said.

Gilbert says the budget compromise is also around 250-million below the funding recommended by the Mississippi Adequate Education Program....which is the formula used by the state to determine minimum public education funding.

Governor Haley Barbour says schools will have more than enough money to keep teachers and educate Mississippi's Kids.

"If they lay somebody off, it is because they needed laying off. And I think there are very few exceptions to that. Tight budget times are good times for right sizing and I am sure a lot of schools took advantage of it," Babour said.

Lawmakers still have some final work to do before they vote on the budget which will likely happen today or Tuesday.


Hundreds rallied in support of education in the days before the compromise.



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