STATEMENT ON SENATE SCHOOL FUNDING VOTE: I am disappointed that the Senate voted to recommit HB957, effectively killing it. I am saddened for the Ocean Springs School District because its children were to receive almost $4,000 per child more. Also, a chance for a continual funding stream for early education, the one program ALL educators, parents and teachers agree is best for a positive educational outcome, is now lost as is districts’ chances to receive ELL funding, e.g., Pascagoula-Gautier School District, which the State of Mississippi has never funded. Sadly, all children in Mississippi will continue to be pawns in a game between adult political agendas. For 15 years before I ever got into the legislature, Mississippi never “fully funded” MAEP and I saw this as a chance for Mississippi to finally have a formula that put children first. While I respect the process, we ought to be advocates for children without fear of doing the right thing.