Schools left in lurch without a budget

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Schools across the state of Mississippi are likely to let teachers and support staff go today. Without an education budget, they have no way of knowing how many teachers they will be able to afford next year.

For the Natchez-Adams School District, that means 45 employees will receive notification their job contracts are not being renewed. Some of those come from retiring or resigning teachers, but the school district will still be down 45 teachers and support personnel &045; which will likely mean more students in each classroom.

Coupled with 49 positions that weren’t filled last year, that’s a big void in the school system. Not only are a number of people losing jobs, but students are also losing more and more teachers.

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The fact that school districts have no budget to work with &045; for the second year in a row &045; as they try to plan for the coming year is unfair. Lawmakers &045; or, more accurately, budget negotiators &045; have left superintendents in the lurch.

We’re never going to climb out from the bottom of the education lists unless we put a focus on education. Some lawmakers believe that means more money, some believe that means more accountability, and some believe it’s a combination of the two.

But we certainly aren’t solving matters by leaving the budget wide open for weeks.

Gov. Haley Barbour is preparing his agenda for the special session that’s needed to tie up state business. We hope lawmakers and budget negotiators return with the right attitude of cooperation &045; and of improving our state’s schools.