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Senate unveils K-12 budget, raising questions on new formula

Senators are offering a bill to fund public schools for 2017-2018, intensifying the question of whether lawmakers will rewrite Mississippi’s school funding formula this year.

Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee amended House Bill 1502, adding back $2.2 billion to spend using the current formula.

Earlier, House Speaker Philip Gunn had removed the money from the bill. The Clinton Republican wants lawmakers to consider next year’s funding and a long-term rewrite of the formula together in a special session.

The lack of a spending plan for 2017-2018 pressures lawmakers to act, because school districts want to know how much money to expect before contracting with teachers for next year.

A K-12 budget for next year could make it easier for lawmakers to shelve the Republican leadership’s signature priority for the session.

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