Thursday, August 18, 2022

State Education Board President Questions McDaniel Classroom Cuts

Hottytoddy.com received this letter to the editor, from Dr. O. Wayne Gann, Chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Education in Jackson:
I am deeply concerned by media reports of U.S. senatorial  candidate Chris McDaniel’s support for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education and eliminating nearly $800 million in federal funding from our Mississippi schools.
I would rather not become a part of any political battle between candidates for  office. However, the serious nature of these statements by state Sen. McDaniel  leaves me no reasonable choice but to speak up on behalf of the students in our public schools.
As a former school district superintendent, I have been a lifelong proponent of  public education. I believe it offers the greatest opportunity for students to succeed in life, and as a result, improve the state’s economy and our quality of life. The nearly $800 million in federal funds Mississippi receives accounts for 24  percent of the state’s overall education budget. From these funds, the state received  over $117 million in fiscal 2014 and is expected to receive $122 million in fiscal 2015 for special education services in school districts. Additionally, millions of  dollars are used for all Title programs, School Improvement Funds, Professional  Development, Child Nutrition and Career and Technical Education programs.
Can you imagine how devastating this would be for the children of this state to not  receive the money they need? Since 2009, the state has shortchanged MAEP by  over $1 billion. The possible loss of nearly $800 million would have a catastrophic  impact on public education.
Federal law requires states to provide the necessary services for students with  special needs. The loss of federal funds would force the state to generate the needed dollars to provide the same level of services, resulting in massive state and local tax increases and chaos in the state budget. Someone has to speak for the boys and girls in our public schools, and I feel it is  my duty to do just that. I urge you to join me in standing up for public education. I’m encouraging you to be vigilant, to alert your communities to this issue, and to communicate your opposition to any efforts to remove the federal funding that our  students so desperately need.
Dr. O. Wayne Gann, Chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Education

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