Local legislators speak on education and state infrastructure

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - State lawmakers discussed two issues that most Pine Belt residents are concerned with during this year's first legislative session at Southern Miss Monday morning.

Today's issues focused on K-12 education reform and state infrastructure.

Legislators said they want to see changes with the way education is currently funded.

Representative (Rep.) Toby Barker said, “I think there will be some conversation about what formula we go with, we need something that is going to reflect the money that it actually takes to fund a school district.

Rep. Barker continued, "Such as English language learners, such as special needs children those students, it cost more to educate them in the way it needs to be.”

Senator Bill Hudson said he would like to see the funding formula focus on student growth.

“I know there is a lot of high priced salary at the top, I know you got under paid teachers at the bottom" said Senator Hudson.

"And you know with the kids, with the supplies and things at the classroom...you do more for the kids, more for the bottom, and less at the top" Senator Hudson added.

Officials hope President-Elect Donald Trump's Administration will help improve Mississippi roads.

“I think he said a trillion dollars nationwide, so we don’t know if anything what Mississippi might get, but if so I think it would be best bet on our highway system" said Senator John Polk.

He added, "Because it is the most costly thing we as a state are facing right now, and the most important.”

Although Trump's Administration has yet to officially start, legislators hope Mississippi is up there on its agenda.

“I do not know what we are going to see, if they are going to throw in some money to our state, we are the largest entitlement state in the nation, maybe we will get a bigger piece of the pie" said Rep. Larry Byrd.

The second legislative session will be in March.



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