Ocean Springs Schools Budget Hurting

Ocean Springs school and city leaders tried to figure out how to make do with a tight school district budget for this coming year, at Tuesday night's meeting.

But officials say it's not going to be easy because of state and district wide cutbacks.

"The biggest crisis has to do with the amount of money allocated to K-12 education," Superintendent Anna Hurt told the Board of Alderman and school board members Tuesday night at a work session.

She informed them that state funding cuts are hurting all school districts in Mississippi, including Ocean Springs.

"This year it is much worse than last year, and next year is already projected to be much worse than this year," Hurt said.

The concern for many parents and school board members, like Karen Whitley, is making sure all Ocean Springs students can keep the same quality of education as in years past.

"Hopefully, we are going to do our very best to trim in areas that won't affect the student directly," Whitley, a school board member and parent said.

According to the superintendent, the main budget problems come from the school districts having to fund the teacher pay raises.

"The governor might say that they funded the pay raise, but that is totally untrue," Hurt said.

Whitley and others here at this meeting, say they just hope state legislators think twice before cutting education next year.

"I'm hoping in the next year at the state level, there will be a better understanding of how local districts fund their schools," Whitley said.

But for this year, school districts will have to make do with the money they've been given and only hope for the best next budget season.

By: Claire Nelson