From Staff Reports
Local educators may not get everything they want out of state government over the next four years, but they won’t have to go very far to bend the ears of the state leaders making the decisions.
State Senator Dennis DeBar (R-Leakesville) was announced last week as the new chairman of the powerful Senate Education Committee. New Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann placed DeBar in that role on Friday when he announced committee assignments for the 52-member Senate. Hosemann told senators to spend the weekend thinking about their priorities and to return to the Capitol next week ready to work.
“I just want to allow teachers and school districts to do their jobs,” without frequently changing demands on them, DeBar said considering his new role.
Asked if he supports vouchers to send some public money to private schools, DeBar said: “Everybody needs a good education … not one-size-fits-all.”
DeBar, who served one term in the House of Representatives and is beginning his second term as the state senator for Dist. 43 (serving all of Greene and parts of George and Wayne counties), will also serve as a member of the Appropriations, Corrections, Energy, Judiciary (Div. A and B), Public Health and Welfare, Rules and Veterans and Military Affairs committees this term.
Senator David Blount (D-Jackson) was named as the Education Committee’s vice-chairman.
“I’m very pleased with my assignments from Lt. Governor Hosemann,” Blount said, according to published reports. “I feel I’ve been treated very fairly. I’ve served on the Education Committee for the last 12 years and I’m happy to be in the new position of Vice-Chairman.”
“I think Chairman Dennis DeBar is an excellent pick. He has the commitment and he has the temperament. I think he’s going to be an excellent chairman.”
DeBar filed a bill Tuesday to give most teachers a $1,000 pay raise. The salary for beginning teachers would increase $1,110.