Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Education Funding

New Mississippi Budget Draws Mixed Reviews

June 07, 2005 2 min read

Mississippi lawmakers in a special session have passed a $145 million increase in K-12 spending for the new fiscal year—more than Gov. Haley Barbour and some legislators had proposed, but not enough to improve financing substantially for many districts.

The increase, which will raise state aid about 7 percent compared with fiscal 2005, does not “fully fund” the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula, which was approved in 1997 to provide adequate and more equitable school financing across the state, critics of the budget said.

“We can’t say the program was fully funded, but there was a strong effort to see that school districts would have enough money to meet state mandates,” said Steve Williams, the director of the Mississippi Department of Education’s educational accountability office.

Although districts may, in general, avoid budget cuts in the coming year, spiraling health-insurance costs will mostly hold local budgets to current spending levels.

“While funding is well below the approximately 15 percent increase requested, K-12 funding for next year is more than adequate,” Gov. Barbour, a Republican, said in a statement as the special session drew to a close on May 28.

Last year, the legislature approved a $38 million increase for schools for fiscal 2005. Many districts cut their budgets based on the overall increase of less than 1 percent.

State Superintendent of Education Henry L. Johnson said in a recent interview that he was disappointed that more money was not authorized. “Better than it was,” he said of the new budget, “but not what it ought to be.”

The new K-12 education budget includes $88 million less than the $194 million increase that a bipartisan citizens group co-chaired by former Gov. William F. Winter, a Democrat, had urged earlier this year. (“Mississippi Marchers Pressure Lawmakers on K-12 Aid,” Jan. 19, 2005.)

Donation Deferred

The $2.2 billion overall budget for K-12 education, given final approval in the legislature on May 28, provides 8 percent raises for teachers, completing a five-year plan to boost their salaries to the Southeast average. The raise will bring average teacher pay in the state to an estimated $41,413 a year, near the regional average.

The budget also includes $200 for each teacher to spend on classroom supplies, $300 less than Gov. Barbour had proposed but roughly double the current amount. It also preserves two years of college-loan forgiveness for teachers who work in high-need geographic areas or teach subjects for which shortages exist.

Failure to meet so-called full funding for the “adequate education” program cost the state $50 million in college scholarships pledged by former Netscape Communications executive Jim Barksdale, a Mississippi native.

Mr. Barksdale had announced in March that he would provide college money for some students enrolled in about 70 schools that take part in reading programs subsidized by the nonprofit Barksdale Reading Institute, based in Oxford, Miss.

Claiborne Barksdale, Jim Barksdale’s brother, who runs the reading institute, announced last week that the new budget was not enough to seal the deal this year.

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

Education Funding What Biden's 'American Rescue Plan' Would Do for Schools and Students, in One Chart
Biden's plan would provide $130 billion in direct aid to K-12 to help schools reopen, but other pieces would also affect education.
1 min read
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.
President Joe Biden speaks last year in Wilmington, Del.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Education Funding Congress Could Go Big on COVID-19 Aid for Schools After Democrats Take Control
Education leaders hoping for another round of coronavirus relief might get their wish from a new Congress.
2 min read
The U.S. Capitol Dome
Sun shines on the U.S. Capitol dome, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/AP
Education Funding How Much Each State Will Get in COVID-19 Education Aid, in Four Charts
This interactive presentation has detailed K-12 funding information about the aid deal signed by President Donald Trump in December 2020.
1 min read
Education Funding Big Picture: How the Latest COVID-19 Aid for Education Breaks Down, in Two Charts
The massive package enacted at year's end provides billions of dollars to K-12 but still falls short of what education officials wanted.
1 min read
Image shows an illustration of money providing relief against coronavirus.
DigitalVision Vectors/iStock/Getty