Barbour Talks to Teachers

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Gov. Haley Barbour told a teachers' union Tuesday that he wants to increase education funding, but doing so will be difficult in a tight budget year.

Barbour spoke to about 150 members of the Mississippi Association of Educators at a meeting in Jackson.

The governor said the easiest thing for him to do would be to stand up and offer a blank check for education funding, but he said the problem is the check might bounce.

The governor and the Legislature have until early May to agree on the entire state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

A recommendation by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee would leave K-12 about $161 million short of what school officials say they need.

Barbour picked up that recommendation for his budget. Since then, the House had adopted its own plan that leaders say would fully fund education.