JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - More money could end up in the hands of educators in Mississippi public schools, universities and community colleges in July.
The state senate passed a $6.2 billion general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2017 on Wednesday that includes a $55 million boost to public education.
Under the proposed budget, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program would add $40 million to its $2.3 billion budget. State universities would see a $10 million increase in funding and community colleges would receive an additional $5 million over their current budget.
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said state general fund revenues have increased by more than $166 million over the past two years, and $150 million of that growth has gone to MAEP. Reeves said other state agencies were either cut or reduced to level funding.
"The senate budget reflects our priorities with increased funding for education and lower taxes for every Mississippi taxpayer," Reeves said. "It also reflects that if we are going to increase funding for our priorities like public education, we must find savings similar to our government agency consolidation. This is a responsible plan that spends only recurring revenue on recurring expenses."
The proposed budget also works in a pay raise for Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers and includes $99 million to create the new Family and Children's Services agency, which will oversee the state's foster care system.
Reeves said the proposed budget saves $60 million by consolidating several agencies.