JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A large group of South Mississippi parents and teachers promised Monday night to fight cutbacks in education budgets statewide. The meeting was sponsored by The Parents' Campaign group in Pascagoula. Members say if the cuts continue, schools could lose as much as 15 percent of their already tight budgets next school year.
"Your votes are priceless to legislators and so we need you to speak up for our kids," The Parents' Campaign Executive Director Nancy Loome said.
The Parents' Campaign sent out that call to action to more than 100 principals, teachers, students and citizens in Jackson County. The organization said lawmakers need to know how the cuts are hurting education.
"Currently, our schools statewide are operating with a level of funding that is $243 million below what our state law says is adequate, and that is very significant."
Loome said if people don't speak up, send letters, and email their lawmakers, more South Mississippi school programs and teacher jobs could put on the chopping block this time around.
"For the coming year, it looks as though the legislature's budget committee will recommended level funding for schools and that will still leave us $231 million below what is adequate," Loome said.
Pascagoula Schools Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich said that concerns him.
"If they were to have a 15 percent cut this year, that would be a $4 million cut into our budget," Rodolfich said.
That's why parents and school staffers like Myrtis Austin and Suzanne Scott said they will do all they can to make sure education is made a top priority in the state.
"The more that we decided that funding is not available or that we don't have what we need to meet the needs of our students, I think it sends a message, a very negative message," Austin said.
"These children are going to live in the community and they're going to be our future," Scott said.
For more information on how to get involved with the Parents' Campaign for education, call (601) 961-4551.