JACKSON, Miss. – “People need to be aware of the fact that education in Mississippi needs to be fully and adequately funded,” said picketers outside Wednesday’s legislative budget hearing. Inside the Woolfolk building in Jackson, the Mississippi Board of Education pushed for a 12 percent budget increase for fiscal year 2015.
“The welfare of the state of Mississippi depends on a quality public educational opportunity for every student in our state and failure to do that can result in some bad unintended consequences down the road,” said Board Chair, Dr. O. Wayne Gann.
The board says its goal for the extra cash is to make sure all third graders can read and they plan to reduce the state’s dropout rate by 13 percent. They also want over 60 percent of Mississippi students to score proficient on new Common Core state standard assessments.
Though not everyone was happy about what they saw in the budget. Lt. Governor Tate Reeves pointed out that since fiscal year 2008 the largest increases in the budget formula were in administration, while the smallest were in instruction.
“That gives some of us less and less confidence in the formula, for those of us who believe that the best way to improve the quality of education is by improving the amount of resources in the classroom, any formula that suggests otherwise gives us less confidence,” said Reeves.
The total requested increase over fiscal year 2014 is $308,424,216.