Politics, Not Education Brown’s Priority

An important step in education funding finally happened this year when the Mississippi Adequate Education Program was fully funded. Spending is an important part of the education puzzle. Getting a better return on that investment – results in the classroom – is another.

Even with record spending, Speaker McCoy and Representative Cecil Brown want to spend more. Despite a $209 million increase for our K-12 schools, McCoy and Brown have held up the budget for another $13 million for “at risk” funding, something the Legislature never asked for. Over the weekend, Cecil Brown has shown that he and Speaker McCoy would rather play politics than sign off on full education funding. What McCoy and Brown really want is an election-year political issue.

“The legislative process is about teamwork,” said Cory Wilson, the Republican candidate for Brown’s House District 66 seat. “Our current Representative likes to tout his Education Committee Chairmanship, but I was so disappointed to see him blocking the state budget process by playing politics with education spending,” Wilson added. “This is the kind of thing we’ve put up with for too long. We need someone who will work with others in the Legislature and with the Governor to make sure our schools get funding they need – with accountability and results the taxpayers have a right to expect.”

The March 24th edition of the Commercial Appeal newspaper quoted Cecil Brown as saying, “If the Governor says no to the at-risk funding, then we’re not going to have a budget. Period.” This attitude not only hurts our schools, but it is pure, ineffective, partisan politics. Mississippians deserve results for their education spending, not politics.

“You know when Democratic Senator Hob Bryan says that Cecil Brown’s demand for $13 million of additional funding lacks a solid plan to reach students struggling in school, it deserves a tough look,” Wilson added. “While we have to reach our at-risk kids, we also have to have a plan for accountability and results, not just a blank check.”

In addition to Senator Bryan, other Democrats apparently believe there is a better approach to education funding. Brown is also facing a Democratic challenger in the August Primary.