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Gov. Haley Barbour finally received complete support for his statewide school finance formula when both legislative chambers passed a funding bill March 29. The action marked the first time the program has been fully financed in four years.
The legislature approved about $2.2 billion for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula, intended to equalize school spending throughout the state. The total K-12 budget is $2.5 billion, a 9.2 percent increase over the previous year, out of a total state budget of about $5.5 billion.
Lawmakers also passed a 3 percent across-the-board pay raise for teachers and a $500 salary raise for teachers’ aides.
A minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week for students was also mandated by the legislature as a way to improve the health of students. Mississippi has had no physical education requirement. Mr. Barbour, a Republican, signed the measure.
A $5 million early-childhood-education initiative failed to win approval.
A version of this article appeared in the April 18, 2007 edition of Education Week