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Several education issues up for discussion in 2014 legislative session

The regular session of the state legislature convened Tuesday at noon. On the agenda for the 2014 session are many bills that address education issues.

Common Core is not the only big topic up for discussion.

Raising teacher pay rates is one issue Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn wants lawmakers to consider.

Governor Phil Bryant has previously suggested to base teacher pay raises on test scores and job evaluation. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves would prefer pay raises for all teachers.

Another topic that will be up for debate comes from a bill proposed by Senator Tony Smith, who represents Pearl River County.

Smith wants superintendents to be appointed by school boards and for school board members to be elected.

Funding additional pre-school programs is also planned to be discussed this session. Picayune School District was awarded a grant in December to start an additional four year-old program that would be open to all students, despite a parent’s household income.

Ten other groups were also awarded grants to start the pre-k programs and 19 applicants were denied.

The biggest discussion that will most likely be had this year is increasing the 2015 fiscal year budget for education. The state projects the budget is $2.35 billion, but many lawmakers have recommended spending $2.13 billion.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.