Working "down to the wire" may best describe how lawmakers are addressing Mississippi's education budget. However, Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian points out this is nothing unusual.
"There is some frustration and I think that people think that we are behind in the process and that's just simply not true," Snowden said. "We're on target. We always do the education budget, as all of the budgets, at the end of the session in conference committees and work those things out."
Snowden said this year things may seem to be moving slower because last year, which was an election year, the education budget was passed unusually early during the session.
Because of projected cuts for next year, the Lauderdale County School District has presented pink slips to more than 40 teachers. Although unfortunate, Snowden said education remains a top priority for lawmakers. Every year it gets at least 60 percent of the state budget.
"Everything has been cut before K-12. K-12 has had and continues to have the highest funding priority, but can I sit here and tell you that it'll get all the money that we need to put there? No. And I can't tell you that because I don't know that we have all of that money," said Snowden.
As it stands, educators are expressing concern about Gov. Barbour's proposal for the budget, because they say it would leave them $161 million short of what is needed.
Meanwhile, with the legislative session set to end on Sunday, May 9, time is nearing for lawmakers to take action.
If nothing is done by the deadline, Newscenter 11 was told that the governor will most certainly call a special session to deal with budget issues.