House Passes Education Bill

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The Mississippi House voted Tuesday for a $2 billion measure to fund most kindergarten through 12th grade education needs for the coming year. The bill includes a teacher pay raise. It passed 103-18.

During a debate that lasted nearly three hours, some members said they'd had too little time to consider the bill. That's a concern, they said, because the measure eats nearly half of the overall state budget for the year starting July 1.

Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian said the bill is not about educational policy, but about educational politics. He said he was worried the state might not have enough money to pay for the education plan and other state needs.

House Appropriations Chairman, Rep. Johnny Stringer of Montrose, said he and other lawmakers had been working on the bill since January. Stringer said he's never written a bad check in his life, and the House would not write one while he's chairman.

The bill did not include funding for community colleges or universities. Lawmakers said measures to fund those parts of education will be considered later in the session.