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SENATE BOOSTS EDUCATION FUNDING IN STATE BUDGET
JACKSON – Public schools, universities and community colleges could see increased funding under a Fiscal 2017 budget passed by the Senate today, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said.
“The Senate budget reflects our priorities with increased funding for education and lower taxes for every Mississippi taxpayer,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “It also reflects that if we are going to increase funding for our priorities like public education, we must find savings similar to our government agency consolidation. This is a responsible plan that spends only recurring revenue on recurring expenses.”
The $6.2 billion general fund budget for Fiscal 2017 begins in July. Almost 60 bills were sent to the House for a vote, which will begin a month-long negotiation on a final plan.
The proposal directs an additional $55 million toward public education at all levels and reduces agency funding by an average 5 percent in other areas.
Under the proposal, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the school funding formula, would receive an additional $40 million in its $2.3 billion budget, universities would see a $10 million increase, and community colleges would receive a $5 million increase over the current year. State general fund revenues have grown $166.7 million over the past two years with MAEP receiving $150 million of that growth. Meanwhile, other agencies were either cut or received level funding.
The budget also:
· Funds the pay raise for highway patrol under the Department of Public Safety,
· Includes about $60 million in savings from consolidating several agencies, and
· Supports the creation of the new Family and Children’s Services agency charged with overseeing the foster care system. The budget includes $99 million for the agency in accordance with a federal court order.