Lawmakers Hear of Funding Concern

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Mississippi education superintendent Dr. Henry Johnson said the continued underfunding of K-12 public education could eventually impact student performance.

The Department of Education presented its budget request to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee Tuesday.

The agency is asking for $381.6 million to operate in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2005. The agency says the 2006 budget includes what it says was this year's $79.3 million in underfunding for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

Sen. Billy Hewes of Gulfport asked whether funding for the school districts was tied to student performance. Johnson said there's a minimal amount of funding, and if officials go below that figure they could jeopardize student learning.