Governor Bryant has announced his budget recommendation for Fiscal Year 2014, the budget that will be decided in the coming legislative session. The governor's Executive Budget Recommendation is not binding and is seen more as an indication of the governor's policy priorities than as a true budget guide.
The Legislative Budget Committee will issue its budget recommendation in a few weeks. That Legislative Budget Recommendation is also non-binding and is typically used as a starting point for budget negotiations during the legislative session.
Governor Bryant recommended that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) be given the same level of funding that it has in the current year. This would under-fund the MAEP by $300-million and make it almost impossible for the lieutenant governor and many legislators to reach their stated goal of returning to full funding of the MAEP by 2014. His budget also includes full funding of the National Board Certificate program.
The good news is that some of the education priorities outlined in Governor Bryant's budget indicate an interest in real school reform. His recommendation includes:
$3-million for Mississippi Building Blocks, a research-based, efficient model of providing a high quality pre-k experience for children through partnerships with existing childcare centers. The model has been proven to improve significantly the kindergarten readiness of children at a relatively low cost per student.
$15-million in additional funding for improving reading proficiency among Mississippi students. The funds are intended to cover ongoing research-based training for classroom teachers and other reading interventions.
Funding for Teach for America and Mississippi Teacher Corps, programs that have helped to fill gaps caused by Mississippi's teacher shortage with high quality teachers, as well as $2-million for scholarships to attract high-achieving students into the teaching profession.
$1.8-million for the State Longitudinal Data System that will enable the gathering and analysis of education metrics in order to determine which programs are effective and which are not.
$250,000 for high school technical and workplace readiness programs and $1-million for drop-out prevention.
You can see Governor Bryant's entire budget recommendation here.