Don’t be fooled. Senators who say that there is a $65-million pot of federal money that can be appropriated to schools are wrong. There is no federal funding that can be used as part of the state appropriation for school districts. This is a $65-million budget cut, plain and simple.
With classrooms packed to the gills due to teacher lay-offs, teacher salary cuts, record levels of under-funding from the state, and Mississippi at a critical school-improvement juncture, one would think that legislators would be searching in every corner for any available dollars to put into education. While some legislators are doing their best to move back to a reasonable level of funding for K-12, others are pushing to cut school budgets even more.
Our children’s education is suffering terribly, and revenue in Mississippi is up significantly. There is no reason that our Legislature should provide one penny less than what the state appropriated to K-12 for the current year. In fact, both the House and Senate agreed in December to provide the same level of state funding for the MAEP for next year that schools received this year. Now some in the Senate are reneging on that commitment, despite the fact that more revenue is now available.