Photo: Sen. Derrick Simmons speaks at a recent news conference in Jackson. (Courtesy photo)
By Sen. Derrick Simmons (D-Greenville)
Note: This opinion-editorial article is offered by Sen. Derrick Simmons (D-Greenville) on behalf of RAISE Mississippi. The views expressed are those of Sen. Simmons and not necessarily those of this publication.
The investments we make in our public schools today will determine the Mississippi we live in tomorrow.
So I ask a simple question, do you want to RAISE Mississippi?
If we want to truly RAISE Mississippi, we must fully fund our public schools.
Our K-12 schools saw an increase in funding by $100 million last year, but our schools were still short of full funding, adding to the more than $3 billion underfunding total since 2008.
Our public schools and our students deserve full funding.
And they also need and deserve:
•Access to a broad range of in-school support that includes school nurses, librarians, counselors, art and music teachers, and support staff who help them be all that they can be;
•Classrooms equipped with up-to-date technology, books, and learning materials that prepare them to compete in a global economy;
•Nutritious meals and health services that enhance whole-student wellness.
•Safe, clean, and up-to-date school buildings.
And YES they need and deserve:
•The best and brightest educators and school staff who are paid a competitive, living wage.
When we do these things, we are RAISING Mississippi because the only way to do this is through our public schools.
We are working hard to RAISE Mississippi during this legislative session and beyond – and that means fully funding our public schools for the first time in over a decade.
Sen. Derrick Simmons is chair of the Mississippi Senate Democratic Caucus, concerning his thoughts on fully funding public education in Mississippi. He spoke at the January 4 launch of Raise Mississippi for the 2024 legislative session.