Mississippi Democrats call for better education funding

By Laura Tillman/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi Democrats are renewing their calls for more education funding in the state budget.

Rep. Rufus Straughter, a Democrat from Belzoni, chaired a Monday hearing held by Democrats.

Straughter says Mississippi has consistently underfunded public schools over the past few years. Rep. John Hines, a Democrat from Greenville, presented data from the Mississippi Department of Education, which shows that Mississippi schools have been cumulatively underfunded by more than $962 million since fiscal year 2009. He broke the funding down by school district to show what each district could have supplied with the missing dollars, using teachers and school buses as examples.

Straughter says that the debate about charter schools is a distraction from the state’s true education problems.