Senate lowers amount for offsetting education cuts

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — The Mississippi Senate today reversed itself on a bill to restore $45 million to the K-12 public education budget, instead approving a measure that would give back $28 million to schools struggling with operations after a series of budget cuts.

The new plan calls for taking $58 million from the health care trust fund and spreading the money across numerous programs and agencies, including education.

The Senate reconsidered the vote on a bill that would have taken $50 million from the state health care trust fund and steered $45 million to schools. Gov. Haley Barbour could have used the $5 million to restore a fraction of the cuts he has made to other programs.

But Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Alan Nunnelee said the proposal did too little to help other agencies.

“Everybody in the chamber supports schools, but you cannot overlook the necessities,” said Nunnelee, R-Tupelo.

Meanwhile, Barbour has set a news conference for 2 p.m. today to announce more cuts.

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