House and Senate budget negotiators are now in agreement on virtually all aspects of the education budget. Governor Barbour has proposed a budget that funds K-12 at a level approximately $45-million below the House and Senate position.
The current House and Senate positions fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), including add-on programs such as gifted education, vocational education, and special education, as well as the National Board Certified Teacher supplements. The Mississippi Department of Education, though, is slated for deep cuts – perhaps as much as 12%. These cuts will not have a direct impact on local school district budgets, but they will almost surely diminish the Department’s ability to assist struggling school districts.
Given these challenging economic times, the K-12 budget proposed by the House and Senate is admirable, and it protects the integrity of the education provided our children in local districts. It is extremely gratifying that, when difficult economic conditions force tough choices, our state’s leaders are so obviously committed to ensuring that all Mississippi children have access to a quality public education. Our entire state will be the better for it.