Governor visits area schoolsto push state education plan

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Making education funding a top priority during the legislativesession was the key topic in Gov. Ronnie Musgrove’s visit to areaschools Tuesday morning.

“I’m saying that for the first time ever we ought to fund ourschools first,” he told a group of third graders at WessonAttendance Center. “Let’s tell Mississippi that our young peopleare important. In fact, ya’ll are the most important.”

As he walked around the school, stopping in several elementaryand high school classes, other tour participants commented onMusgrove’s recent request to legislators.

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Musgrove asked the Legislature to commit 62 percent of the statebudget to education before addressing any other budget needs.

“I think he’s always been a friend of education. Without him,I’m not sure where we’d be today in education,” said WessonPrincipal Billy O. Britt.

Computers in every classroom were also a point of interestduring the tour. Britt explained to many classes along the way thatit was Musgrove who was primarily responsible for allowing thestate to be the first in the nation with such anaccomplishment.

After a stop in the school office and cafeteria to visit withemployees there, Musgrove reflected on his tour.

“It’s a very good school, and it’s indicative of many smallschools across the state,” he said to Britt and SuperintendentRickey Clopton.

Following his tour of Wesson Attendance Center, Musgrove headedto Brookhaven, but not in a limousine as one elementary studentthought.

“No, I just travel in a regular car,” Musgrove responded with asmile to the inquiring youngster.

Mamie Martin Elementary School Principal Danita Hobbs tookadvantage of the visit by showing Musgrove a glimpse of everyclassroom.

He smiled at the many decorations and an occasional “WelcomeGov. Musgrove” sign adorning the hallways.

Musgrove encouraged students to “keep up the good work” andlisten to their teachers while making sure to “study hard.”

He had the opportunity to talk about his education hopes withSuperintendent Dr. Sam Bounds as well as other education officialsand Mayor Bill Godbold, who stopped in before heading to Jacksonfor Brookhaven Day at the Capitol.

Bounds expressed his appreciation for Musgrove’s support forpublic education in Mississippi.

“We love the fact that they’re pushing to fund education first.We’re very pleased with the emphasis on education,” he said.

Musgrove rounded out his stop in the area by dropping in for hisfirst visit to newly-renovated Brookhaven High School. He wasimpressed by the sparkling clean building and promised to scheduleanother visit later so he could see more of the school.

The large auditorium, with an adjustable level orchestra pit,highlighted his quick stop at the school, producing severalcompliments from Musgrove.

“This is a pure example of why we’ve got to put our schoolsfirst,” he said. “The more opportunities we give our young people,the more jobs we’ll attract.”