Education Supporters Ask Governor to Spend Reserves

By: Ashley Conroy Email
By: Ashley Conroy Email

Lawmakers, teachers, and educators rallied at the Capitol Tuesday to ask Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour to restore part of the nearly $500 million dollars in cuts to education.

Some lawmakers say the governor has nearly $750 million that he's currently holding in reserves.

In a colorful speech, Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory used a dry erase board to illustrate his points.

"What if I were to tell you that the governor has at his disposal $100 million, sent from the Congress for the purpose of spending that now," Bryan said.

University and Colleges chair, Rep. Kelvin Buck says this is a matter of priority for Mississippi.

"We know that these dollars are in existence and we know that they're in reserve." said Buck. "And we know that they're available to be used, and we say this is a question of priority."

These lawmakers and educators are asking for at least $80 million to go back to K-12, community colleges, and universities throughout the state.

Buck says this amount will help offset some of the cuts that have been sliced from the budget.

"Most of these institutions have already done what is necessary to do their part," he said. "Now it's time to do our part."

Farae Wolfe, from the Greenville School District, said these education cuts have already been felt there. She says the district has issued furloughs and cut back on school supplies.

"Even in our district now, we're seeing the impact of cuts as they trickle down. And it affects quality of education, it affects morale; it affects the operation of things full circle," Wolfe said.

In the meantime, House Education chairman, Cecil Brown, proposed a resolution in the House to extend this year's session to resolve Mississippi's budget crisis. The full House didn't accept this resolution, but House Democrats are expected to propose the resolution again in the next several days.

Gov. Barbour has said that budget troubles are likely to remain for at least a few more years. He's resisting spending all the state has in reserve.

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  • by get real on Mar 29, 2010 at 09:19 AM
    These children are the future! Our state already falls so far behind the rest of the country that this is just harming them even more. Don't take away from our schools..take away from the prisons and give it to the schools!!! Prisoners have lost their freedom for a reason, they do not deserve cable t.v., gym membership, or college degrees. Law abiding citizens must pay for those luxuries, but prisoners get them for free. Use those funds to put our children first! Our teachers work hard to do the best they can for these young ladies and gentlemen, but without proper funding, we will not have any teachers or teacher assistants left!
  • by itsabouttime on Mar 25, 2010 at 07:42 AM
    come on people get your head out of the sand,we spend 10,000 dollars per child here and you say we need more? education needs to be cut ,and the money spent wisely.more money thrown at a problem dont fix it.when you are broke do you spend more to get out of debt?no....cut the waste
  • by Danny Location: Meridian on Mar 25, 2010 at 05:39 AM
    Education is important. You can throw as much money toward it as you want too, but the children will not learn if they do not care and if their parents do not care. You can take a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. The same with a student, you can put the material out there, make it fun and interesting, but if the student and their parents do not care they will fail. Schools are not babysitting services. It is not the teachers responsibility to raise all the children that they teach. Their responsibility is to TEACH them the curiculum. Also, if we spend the reserve now, what are we going to spend when we need more money again? You can only raise taxes so far. We are in a recession and all programs are suffering. Why not cut all of the "gimmie" programs instead. That would save millions upon millions a year. Instead of teaching to a standardized test, lets get back to just TEACHING!!!
  • by Concerned voter Location: Mississippi on Mar 24, 2010 at 04:30 PM
    I'm very disappointed that our governor does not support education. That is why our state is so far behind. We cannot seem to put the right people in office. We need to look closer at who we put in the capitol to run our government.
  • by Michele Location: Meridian on Mar 24, 2010 at 04:01 PM
    Education funding is the last thing that should be cut. With MS being at the bottom of the totem pole in standardized test scores, why would the governor WANT to cut funds? That is backwards thinking!
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