Hyde-Smith backed House bill

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 19, 2004

A House plan remains a “terrible bill,” but Dist. 39 Sen. CindyHyde-Smith said she supported the school money measure because itis the only current legislation that would fully fundeducation.

“I made some folks mad in the leadership of the Senate,”Hyde-Smith said Friday, “but I felt like I needed to do what I didin order to represent my district the best.”

Hyde-Smith was among 21 senators who, in effect, voted Thursdayfor the House plan to fund education. The Senate plan, whichoriginally left education funding $161 million short, was approved28-21.

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Hyde-Smith said the Senate plan, which was inserted into HouseBill 1696 in a strike-all maneuver, is based on Legislative BudgetRecommendations and $44 million from revised revenue estimates,plus a promise to fully fund education later.

“The Senate plan was LBR and a promise,” Hyde-Smith said. “TheHouse plan would have fully funded education.”

The senator said she believes she made a good vote, although theHouse bill has been criticized because of questionable revenueprojections. Hyde-Smith said it is a “terrible bill,” but she votedfor it because it was the only bill that contained actualnumbers.

“It stretches a few things…,” Hyde-Smith said of the Housemeasure. “But it was the only thing going at the moment.”

Hyde-Smith remained hopeful that her Senate colleagues wouldaddress the education funding issue.

“Hopefully, the Senate will come out with what will be a verygood bill with solid numbers behind it and fully funds education,”Hyde-Smith said.

With differences in the House and Senate bills, the educationfunding issue will head to conference later in the session.

Due to education funding uncertainty, school leaders around thestate have notified some teachers that they will not be rehired forthe following school year. Hyde-Smith was optimistic the personnelsituation would be resolved through the conference process.

“I think we’ll end up with a pretty good bill, and I truly don’tthink any teachers will lose their jobs,” Hyde-Smith said.