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Jim Hood calls for preschool, teacher pay, higher K-12 spending

MGN Online

Gubernatorial candidate Jim Hood expressed his support for education funding.

Posted: Sep 18, 2019 3:42 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jim Hood on Tuesday detailed an ambitious education program which, if fully implemented, would bring the biggest increase in Mississippi education spending in more than a decade.

Hood, Mississippi's attorney general, told reporters after appearing at a school in Greenville that he wants to expand Mississippi's small state-funded preschool program, make a big boost in teacher salaries and pay the full tab called for by Mississippi's education funding formula.

Hood also said he wants to expand subsidies for aspiring teachers and make it easier to qualify academically to become a teacher. He says those measures are needed to combat a shortage of educators in Mississippi.

The Republican nominee, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, has said that Hood's plans on education and other topics are unrealistically expensive without tax increases. Hood's proposals would amount to something more than $500 million a year in increased spending, once fully enacted over several years.

The state's funding formula, called the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, has long been a source of political contention. Democrats and many public school supporters say schools need more money, while Republicans fear money is wasted on administration. Republican leaders haven't tried in recent years to hit the funding target required under the law and unsuccessfully sought a major overhaul of the formula after voters rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have enshrined a funding mandate in Mississippi's fundamental governing document.

Full funding would require $2.55 billion next year, according to preliminary estimates submitted this summer. That's an increase of more than $330 million over what the state is spending this year.

"A lot of Delta schools here have been cheated by the Legislature on proper funding," Hood told reporters.

Hood also called for a $3,000 boost in teacher pay over two years, saying the $1,500 provided by lawmakers this year is insufficient. Using numbers from this year, that would cost more than $150 million. Hood would go farther than that, realigning yearly increases for experience so educators would get a 2% boost for each year they teach up to 25, and then a 5% yearly boost for years 26 through 35. The Hood campaign didn't immediately provide an estimate of how much the higher yearly increases would cost.

Hood also proposes spending about $45 million more over four years to expand state-funded pre-kindergarten classes for 4-year-olds. He says increasing funding to Mississippi's early learning collaboratives, public-private partnerships that provide the classes, would help 23,000 children not served by Head Start, private or some other pre-K.

During the Republican primary, Reeves proposed a workforce development plan that included calls to expand computer science education and do more to let students earn college credits while in high school. Reeves' biggest proposed education item would be a $75 million infusion into community colleges to modernize worker training efforts.

Reeves has said he supports increasing teacher pay but hasn't said by how much.

"Jim Hood and Tate Reeves agree that we need to keep raising teacher pay and allow alternative certification so that we can get additional talented people into the classroom," Reeves spokesman Parker Briden said in a statement. "The difference between Hood and Tate on education is that Hood's plan does not focus on student performance at all while Tate Reeves will keep reforming our system to ensure our kids are learning."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110592

Reported Deaths: 3171
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7731171
DeSoto655177
Harrison478481
Jackson429178
Rankin380086
Madison371092
Lee339279
Forrest292777
Jones281682
Washington250697
Lafayette241342
Lauderdale2329130
Lamar212038
Bolivar197775
Oktibbeha194154
Neshoba1795111
Lowndes173662
Panola164736
Leflore158786
Sunflower156749
Warren151854
Monroe143672
Pontotoc143019
Pike135555
Lincoln133954
Copiah133336
Marshall130026
Coahoma122836
Scott122729
Grenada119637
Simpson117648
Yazoo116933
Union113825
Holmes113060
Tate112339
Leake111839
Itawamba108724
Pearl River107456
Adams104042
Prentiss100919
Wayne97921
Alcorn94412
George93217
Marion92642
Covington90825
Tippah84820
Newton84227
Chickasaw81724
Tallahatchie81725
Winston81421
Tishomingo78640
Hancock76527
Attala76325
Clarke70948
Clay66621
Jasper66016
Walthall63427
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith57716
Claiborne53016
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence48914
Yalobusha47914
Perry47522
Carroll45812
Greene44717
Stone44614
Amite41513
Quitman4096
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39311
Webster36313
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31615
Benton3004
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26210
Franklin2283
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 152272

Reported Deaths: 2621
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22300372
Mobile14273314
Tuscaloosa9886132
Montgomery9615196
Madison895192
Shelby700260
Lee643066
Baldwin636967
Marshall425348
Calhoun408459
Etowah399149
Morgan393232
Houston362332
DeKalb313326
Elmore308152
St. Clair276742
Limestone268327
Walker264192
Talladega253634
Cullman223923
Lauderdale204340
Autauga198928
Franklin198131
Jackson197914
Russell18993
Colbert188927
Dallas184527
Blount182723
Chilton178731
Escambia170328
Covington164429
Coffee16299
Dale161551
Pike130112
Tallapoosa126986
Chambers126643
Clarke126116
Marion103929
Butler99640
Barbour9819
Marengo96421
Winston88613
Geneva8297
Pickens79317
Randolph79314
Lawrence78830
Bibb78513
Hale73729
Cherokee71414
Clay70312
Lowndes69827
Bullock63417
Henry6286
Monroe6259
Washington62012
Crenshaw58830
Perry5796
Conecuh55413
Wilcox55412
Fayette54012
Macon52819
Cleburne5207
Sumter46421
Lamar4555
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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