Budget woes could mean fewer school days for MS students - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Budget woes could mean fewer school days for MS students

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi students could be sitting in the classroom five fewer days for the 2011 and 2012 school years, if the House of Representatives agrees to the state Senate's proposal.

"It's not perfect. To be honest, I hate that I even have to be talking about something like this with you," said Education Chair, Senator Videt Carmichael.

Teachers could also see furloughs with this legislation to save the state and individual school districts money.

Chairman of Education for the House of Representatives, Cecil Brown said the house will strongly consider the furloughs, but will probably bypass cutting days.

"I think it's unfortunate that something like this has to happen. It's inevitable, but I think it's better to be furloughed than lose your job," Brown said.

But some lawmakers, like Senator David Blount, strongly disagree with that approach. Blount believes it sends the wrong message.

"But the last thing we should do is cut the number of days our children go to school," Blount said.

State Superintendent Dr. Tom Burnham released a statement Thursday that said, in part, "I cannot support reducing the number of instructional days in any way. Research shows that the two most important factors in student achievement are the quality of the teacher in the classroom and time on task. Mississippi is at or near the bottom in a number of areas, including academic achievement and graduation rates."

As for Senator Carmichael, he said eliminating a few extra days won't interfere with students' education.

"There's no way you can make me believe that five days over the whole year is going to make that much difference in student outcomes."

The Senate voted to pass this legislation on Wednesday with a 39 to 8 vote. The House still needs to review these amendments to determine if they accept this proposal or not.

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