Governor Barbour recommends more education cuts - - Jackson, MS

Governor Barbour recommends more education cuts

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Governor Haley Barbour is suggesting educational cuts to gifted, special, and vocational programs across the state.

The proposed amount of 68-percent cuts, would lead to a loss of $176 million in federal funds.

Director of the Magnolia Speech School, Anne Sullivan works with special needs children. Sullivan recognizes the importance for special needs programs across the state.

"Educating a special needs child is obviously very costly. You need very small teacher/people ratio. You have to have a lot of special equipment and materials and it takes money, there's no doubt about that," Sullivan said.

However, their program is a private non-profit entity that wouldn't directly be affected by state cuts. She sees the proposed cuts as an opportunity for state-wide special education programs to work directly with the private sector, and potentially change the way special needs children are taught. 

"You get these children early, and you give them quality intervention early. Then you're not going to spend a lot of special-ed dollars on them later on," Sullivan said.

Representative Cecil Brown (D) of District 66, and Chairman of the Education Department, doesn't agree with the proposed cuts. He says the public education sector has already seen enough set backs with the 5-percent cuts that took place this year.

"The Governor's looking at, I understand another two to 3-percent cuts this year and then he's proposed a 15-percent cut next year. They just can't stand that," Brown said.

The decision for these recommended cuts won't begin until January 2010. Sullivan says it's a move that state or private agencies can't control. She recommends that public school systems work in accordance with the private sector if cuts do occur.

"And you think budget cuts and you think, well they can't get what they need. But I'm just, you know, convinced that doesn't have to be the case," Sullivan said.

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