Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Governor Haley Barbour Proposes “95% Solution” for Education
“State Gives 95% + Districts Don’t Save 5% = 100% Funding”

(Jackson, Miss.) -- In the midst of budget negotiations between House and Senate leaders this week over how to fund state services like public education, Governor Haley Barbour yesterday proposed a compromise plan aimed at helping fund schools.

After the revelation Saturday that Mississippi’s 152 school districts have built up a “rainy day fund” of $350 million by setting aside 5% of their appropriation each year, Governor Barbour said school districts should be asked not to save any of the state funding in the coming fiscal year and the State should fund districts at 95% of this year’s level. “This idea is not budget reduction; this is budget responsibility,” said Governor Barbour.

Under this plan, with no new savings taken out of next year’s state funding, appropriating education funds at 95% of this year’s level would allow the same spending level next year, and no money would be taken from any savings funds balance. It would only mean that no more state money would be added to the already large school district savings funds.

The Governor emphasized that most of the districts’ “rainy day funds” were comprised of State funding accumulated over the last few years. From FY ‘02 to FY ‘03, school district

“rainy day funds” increased $82 million – exactly 5% of their State appropriation. The Governor also stressed that this plan, just like his executive budget, fully funds the teacher pay raise.

“Superintendents should be looking out for their districts – I would be if I were they. However, I have to look out for the State of Mississippi during a budget crisis,” said Governor Barbour. “We have asked and required all of state government to cut and cut and cut over the last couple of years. Now we should ask superintendents -- for just one year -- simply not to save even more. That’s a great bargain for our schools,” he added.

Governor Barbour will be working with House and Senate leaders in coming days to help resolve budget issues.


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741