School Funding at Issue

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School superintendents around the state are trying to save money while they await final word on state funding. Under current recommendations by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and Gov. Haley Barbour, public schools would get $161 million less than education officials say is needed.

House Speaker Billy McCoy will present a plan Tuesday that he says will fully fund education. He said the plan would not raise taxes but would suggest increases in some fees.

State officials are working on the budget for the year that starts July 1.

At the Meridian Rotary Club meeting, Lauderdale County school superintendent David Little talked about the district's financial status.

"The Legislative Budget Committee recommended we get $23.6 million. If MAEP were fully funded we'd get $26.6 million. So we're about $3 million under what we need. And then on top of that, we would have to implement the eight percent pay raise, which is $1.5 million out of our pocket, so I don't think it's going to be nearly that bad," Little said.

Educational institutions at all levels in Mississippi are currently working to resolve financial challenges.

Moss Point School District Superintendent Tressie Shaw Harper said she is trying to save money by having outside contractors do some work like landscaping and air conditioner repairs.

Earl Watkins, superintendent of Jackson Public Schools, said his district is working with a Florida-based consulting group to find ways to save money.

Ben Lockridge contributed to this report.