In its regular session, which ended this month, the Mississippi legislature voted to cut spending for higher education and other departments by 20 percent, but to increase funds for schools.
The legislature provided a total of $917 million for elementary and secondary education, including $694- million in state funds. The total is $48 million over the amount provided last year.
Included in the increase is $40 million for statewide kindergarten and $21 million for a $1,000 pay raise for teachers. Both of those measures were passed and signed into law in the opening days of the session.
The overall budget provided for $1.49 billion in state spending, a decrease of $68 million from the amount appropriated by the legislature last year. But because Gov. William A. Allain cut last year’s budget by $95 million due to insufficient revenues, the budget for next year is larger than the amount actually spent last year.
Nevertheless, several departments, including higher education, received budget cuts of about 20 percent.