By Ashley Conroy - email
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Lawmakers, teachers and educators rallied at the Capitol on Tuesday morning to ask Governor Haley Barbour to restore part of the nearly $500 million in cuts, back in to education.
Some lawmakers say the governor has nearly $750 million that he's currently holding in reserves.
In a colorful speech at the education rally, Senator Hobb Bryan, from Amory, illustrated the amount using a white, dry erase board.
"What if I were to tell you that the governor has, at his disposal $100 million sent from the congress for the purpose of spending that now," said Bryan.
University and Colleges Chair Representative Kelvin Buck said this is a matter of priority for Mississippi.
"We know that these dollars are in existence and we know that they're in reserve. And we know that they're available to be used, and we say this is a question of priority," said Buck.
These lawmakers and educators are asking for at least $80 million to go back to K through 12, community colleges and universities throughout the state.
Buck said this amount will help offset some of the cuts that's been sliced from the budget.
"Most of these institutions have already done what is necessary to do their part. Now it's time to do our part," said Buck.
Farae Wolfe, from the Greenville School Districts, said these education cuts have already affected their school district. She said they've issued furloughs and cut back on school supplies.
"Even in our district now, we're seeing the impact of cuts as they trickle down. And it affects quality of education; it affects moral. It affects the operation of things full circle," said Wolfe.
In the meantime, House Education Chairman Cecil Brown proposed a resolution in the House to extend this year's session to resolve Mississippi's budget crisis. The full House didn't accept this resolution, but House Democrats are expected to propose this resolution again in the next several days.
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