Committee passes bill to cut $44 million from public schools

Courtesy: KNOE
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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers in the House will consider making $87 million in deeper cuts to state spending this year than Gov. John Bel Edwards proposes, more than half of that to public school financing.

The proposal was approved with a 14-9 vote Wednesday by the Appropriations Committee and heads next to the full House for debate. The committee's Democrats voted as a bloc against the cuts, joined by two Republicans and the panel's lone independent.

The measure strikes at the governor's efforts to shield K-12 education from most cuts, and approval came despite opposition from education officials who said the plans could damage classroom instruction and jeopardize spring standardized testing.

Supporters of the cuts, expected to be considered by the full House on Thursday, said Louisiana's spending levels must be reduced. They said they'd rather make deeper cuts than raise taxes to fill most of the gap in a state struggling with an economic downturn.