Governor threatens education cuts, backs off, but …

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Jackson, MS, Nov. 18, 2008 — At the end of October 2008 MS Governor Haley Barbour demanded that the MS Dept. of Education cut 2 percent from the current state appropriation for local school district funds, along with every other state agency, to address the revenue shortfall caused by the economic recession.

State Supt. of Education Hank Bounds vigorously opposed the cuts and shot back that a 2 percent cut in the middle of this fiscal year would force at least 20 local school districts into the “red” in violation of the state law prohibition against school districts operating with a budget deficit. Bounds was supported in his opposition to the cuts by the Lt. Governor, the Chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees, members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, numerous parent and student organizations both black and white, local school district leaders and business organizations.

On November 11 Governor Barbour announced that his proposed mid-fiscal year budget cuts would not include state funding for public ativan education through the MS Adequate Education Program, Medicaid, the state Health Dept., or the funding appropriated for the college desegregation settlement in the Ayers litigation.

On November 18 Governor Barbour released his proposed fiscal year 2010 state budget which calls for an increase in MAEP funding equivalent to full funding of the formula.

Southern Echo created two maps to illustrate the impact on each school district of the Governor’s demand for a 2 percent cut in the middle of this fiscal year (2009 – ending June 30, 2009) and the 4 percent cut demanded for the next fiscal year (2010 – ending June 30, 2010).

For an understanding of the state budget process, and more specifically, the relationship of the education appropriations to the whole state budget, see Visualizing the Mississippi State Budget, 2005.

The Mississippi Economic Policy Center has a more up-to-date analysis in its 2007 Taxpayer’s Guide to the Mississippi Budget.

Click here to download Governor Barbour’s fiscal year 2010 proposed budget and explanation released November 19, 2008.