The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (LBC) is due to make its budget recommendation in the next few weeks, and its recommendation is considered the baseline budget from which the Legislature will begin to structure the state budget for the coming year. The committee of 6 Representatives and 6 Senators, led by Speaker Billy McCoy and Lt. Governor Phil Bryant, is currently at a stalemate, partially over education funding.
LBC House members are recommending level funding for K-12 – no more cuts to the K-12 budget. The Senate position calls for an additional $109-million in cuts below the current K-12 funding level. The current level of funding is already $243-million below what the law says is adequate to educate our children.
Our schools have done a masterful job of restructuring their own budgets and creating efficiencies to deal with the massive cuts they have suffered over the last two years – cuts which have exceeded those made to the rest of the state budget. But budget cuts have moved us beyond efficiency to the point of causing severe harm to our education system.
Thousands of teachers, administrators and support personnel have been laid off, resulting in crowded classrooms operating with few resources. Important intervention and gifted programs have been lost, electives and advanced placement offerings have been reduced, and many extracurricular activities have been eliminated. As teachers struggle to deal with large classes and few resources, we are in danger of losing many of our best teachers. Our state is headed backward, and the cuts called for by the Senate members of the LBC threaten to hasten its descent by further decimating our public schools.
We need your help to STOP THE CUTS TO EDUCATION. We will need to enlist the help of all Senators to pressure their Legislative Budget Committee representatives to support level funding for public education. Please call your Senator and the Senate members of the Legislative Budget Committee and tell them to STOP THE CUTS TO EDUCATION.
Senate Members of the Legislative Budget Committee
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant
Sen. Terry C. Burton
Sen. Doug Davis
Sen. Hillman T. Frazier
Sen. Jack Gordon
Sen. Billy Hewes
Sen. Dean Kirby
The Legislative Budget Committee is scheduled to resume debate on Wednesday, November 17, and they need to hear from you before they meet again. They need to know that we want to live in a state that values education. They need to be reminded that only through an educated populace will Mississippi meet her potential. They need to hear that our children deserve good schools and that we expect our Legislature to provide the resources that good schools need. We need to tell them that enough is enough, and we won’t stand for any more cuts to our schools!