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Report To The People

House Bill Passed To Restore School Funding

By Tommy Reynolds

The House of Representatives last week, by more than a two-to-one margin, passed a bill to restore $68 million to fund grades K-12. Governor Barbour had cut these funds earlier this month. The money would come from an increase in cigarette taxes passed by the House in the preceding week.

For the money to be available, the Senate will need to pass the cigarette tax increase and the Governor sign the measure. From figures I have seen, it appears that the Water Valley School District would receive approximately $200,000 for the current fiscal year, ending July 1, if the measure becomes law. I am very concerned that state funding be maintained for education both to protect the quality of education and to prevent tax increases to local property tax payers.

I serve on the House Appropriation Committee and last week this Committee reported out a bill to provide additional funding to assure that transportation for 500 dialysis patients would be maintained. These patients are in need of transportation assistance to their three times weekly dialysis session. I supported the bill that passed with only 14 dissenting votes.

Last week the Appropriations Committee heard from the presidents of the state universities. I had the opportunity to visit with Robert Khayat, outgoing Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, and he was complimented at the hearing on the great progress made by the University during his tenure. The presidents of Delta State, Mississippi State and Alcorn all expressed their concern that funding to colleges not be reduced to the level that our state in the words of one president, “settles for mediocrity,” for our institutions of higher education.

If I can be of any assistance to you please call on me. My phone number in Jackson during the session is (601) 359-3365. The phone number in my Charleston office is (662) 647-3203, and my residence phone number is (662) 473-2571. I can also be contacted by writing me at my home address of 15 CR 429, Water Valley, MS 38965, or at my office address of P.O. Box 280, Charleston, MS 38921.

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