Public education advocates in Mississippi are worried recent budget cuts will undermine progress made by students in recent years.
The Governor's recent mid-year budget cut slashed spending by one-half of one percent for nearly every state agency including the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.
MAEP is the mechanism that determines how much money should go to public schools whether they're in an affluent area or a poor one. The 2.25 billion program is currently underfunded by about 200 million dollars. The mid-year cuts will remove more money from the formula.
Nancy Loome, with the pro-public education advocacy group the Parents Campaign, says the cuts will have a greater impact on needy districts.
"Unfortunately, our most vulnerable children, those children in low wealth communities where the funding can't be made up on the local level, those are the children who are going to suffer the most," says Loome. "Those are the children that most need our help."
Loome also worries about how public schools will fare next fiscal year. Lawmakers voted to level-fund public education in 2017. But, Senate Education Committee Chair, Republican Gray Tollison of Oxford says lawmakers made progress on some education programs despite cuts to others.
"We added a million dollars to early learning," says Tollison. "I wish we were able to double it, but due to those budget cuts we had last week, we weren't able to maintain those. At least we're moving in the right direction."
There is also speculation the Governor may call a special legislative session to address more budget cuts.