JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – With the Mississippi Legislative Session only two months away, public education advocates have been making the case for the state to spend its money investing into the future.
With nearly $740 million in state funds available, the Parents Campaign and State Senator David Blount believe the smartest investment would be in education.
“The future of Mississippi depends on whether we have a strong workforce, whether we have an educated workforce, and that starts with K-12 public education, and the state has money now, and we need to invest that money in public education,” said Blount.
Schools could use extra funding to lower class sizes, increase teacher pay and bring in extra tutors. In past investments into public education, teachers and students have shown it is a worthwhile investment.
An increase in literary scores came after an investment in reading and writing coaches.
“We are now at the national average in our national test scores in 4th grade reading,” said Parents Campaign Executive Director Nancy Loome. “But that’s because of an investment in our children.”
According to Blount, bipartisan support on education is possible.
“We passed the biggest teacher pay raise bill in history earlier this year, that was done in a bipartisan way. So, I think there is support there. We’ve just got to continue to make that a priority,” he said.
While many legislators are focused on healthcare, infrastructure and possible tax cuts for this next session, Loome believes there should be enough money to go around.
“The good news is, there really is plenty of funding available to do all of those things. We really don’t have to make very hard choices this year,” said Loome.