State cuts to affect college, arboretum, MSDH

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pearl River Community College, the Crosby Arboretum and the Mississippi State Department of Health are all expected to see the negative effects from the statewide budget cuts very soon.

In fact, a release issued by PRCC earlier this week indicates students can expect to pay $200 more per semester to work towards their higher learning degree due to that cut. That brings a semester of classes, totaling 12 hours or more, to $1,625. Hourly rates at PRCC are also going up, from $125 to $140.

The total decrease in state funding to PRCCC is expected to be $1.6 million.

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At the Crosby Arboretum, cuts have led the staff at Pearl River County’s nature exhibit to find creative ways to make ends meet. Currently, staff cuts are not proposed for the tourism destination.

However if donations and other forms of funding are not found, that could change.

Similar changes have also been reported at the Mississippi State Department of Health. According to an MSDH release, the cuts to the department will focus on minimizing administrative offices instead of cutting county staff and services.

To achieve this, what were nine health districts within Mississippi will now be three. That will be achieved through attrition as staff retire, resign or are reassigned.

These cuts are occurring statewide, not just in Pearl River County and should be alarming to not just residents, but most of all state lawmakers.

In order to avoid the staff cuts many would hate to see when the next round of cuts occurs next fiscal year, our state’s elected officials need to find a way to boost revenue, while also cutting unnecessary services. Those unnecessary services do not include community colleges, the Arboretum and the Health Department. These services need to continue for so many reasons.

As the MSDH has done, the cuts should take place where there are excesses in administration.