Lawmakers comment on Gov. budget recommendation - - Jackson, MS

Lawmakers comment on Gov. budget recommendation

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By Ashley Conroy - email

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - In Governor Haley Barbour's Executive Budget Recommendation, he outlined several areas where he thinks the state will save money for FY 2012.

"I do call for this one year of not having the step pay raise for school teachers," Barbour said during his press conference about the report on Monday.

The governor also announced that funding would be "level" for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP).

This means that school districts and other education areas across the state would see the same amount as in FY 2011.

However, his report also outlines other avenues to eliminate spending in the state.

For instance, by proposing a "Pay-for-Performance" where teachers would earn their salary based on student test scores.

Cecil Brown, House Education Chairman, says how well a student learns in class isn't always about how well a teacher performs.

"Does the teacher have the resources for example, do they have enough books they've been given, do they have enough computers that they need," Brown said. "There's a lot more to measuring performance other than just saying what kids score on a test."

Gov. Barbour is also proposing to the Legislature to consider consolidating the state's 152 school districts to 100.

However, in the report, it is not clear how much the state would save or what districts would be consolidated.

"We shouldn't start with the hammer that says we're going to eliminate school districts, because it just doesn't make any sense," Brown said. "I'd like the Governor to give me a list of 50 he wants to eliminate."

For education advocates like the Parents Campaign, they say it's about quality education for students.

Nancy Loom, Executive Director, says whether the Legislature agrees with the Governor's proposals or not, they're asking all options be considered.

"We hope that legislators will look under every rock and consider every option that available to them," Loom said. "In order to position Mississippi to recover well from this recession we need an educated populous, and right now we are headed backward."

Meantime, the Legislature will consider these options when the session begins in January.

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