Senate’s $2.5 billion education funding bill heads to Phil Bryant’s desk

March 18, 2015 in Education, News

In this file photo, Gov. Phil Bryant visits the House chambers in the Mississippi Capitol. A $2.5 billion education funding bill is heading to his desk and Bryant says he will sign it. Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press

In this file photo, Gov. Phil Bryant visits the House chambers in the Mississippi Capitol. A $2.5 billion education funding bill is heading to his desk and Bryant says he will sign it.
Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Senators are sending a $2.5 billion K-12 education budget to Gov. Phil Bryant for the upcoming year.

It’s an unusual move that means senators won’t engage in late-session negotiations with House members over a bill that makes up more than 40 percent of state spending.

“I’m proud to say classrooms across Mississippi will receive more money this year than ever before in the history of our state,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said in a statement. “Republicans have made increased education funding, focused on putting more money in the classroom, a priority.”

The measure increases funding for K-12 schools by $106 million, but leaves the state’s education funding formula $211 million short of what it demands.

Supporters of more education money reacted angrily to the Senate’s move, in part because lawmakers may soon increase the overall estimate of money projected to be available during fiscal 2016.

Senators rejected a proposal by Democratic Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory to add $25 million to education, which would have also forced a House-Senate conference.

Bryant says he’ll sign the bill.