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Miss. House Approves Budget, Mabus's Teacher-Pay Proposals

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The Mississippi House has approved a record $772.4-million budget for public education that includes funds for teacher pay raises sought by Gov. Raymond Mabus Jr.

The funding bill now moves to the Senate, where it expected to be approved with only minor changes, a spokesman for the first-term governor said.

During his election campaign last year, Mr. Mabus pledged to raise the average salary for Mississippi teachers from its current $20,750 to the 12-state Southeastern regional average of $24,462.

The bill approved by the House would raise the average salary in the state by $3,700, but would provide only seven-ninths of the raise in the first year--for an average of $3,000--to hold down costs.

Teacher raises would range from $2,000 to $6,000, but the average would still be about $3,700, said Cliff Treyens, the Governor's communication's director.

Mr. Mabus had requested a total of $767.4 million for precollegiate education for the upcoming fiscal year. House panels added $2 million for student transportation and another $3 million to raise salaries for teachers' aides.--P.W.

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