Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Proposed Fordice Funds Tied Up in Miss. Legislature

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Proposed Fordice Funds Tied Up in Miss. Legislature

Article excerpt

Proposed Fordice Funds Tied Up in Miss. Legislature.

by B. Denise Hawkins

Recent efforts to put more funds into Mississippi's three Black universities fell apart in the hand of legislators in the wake of a federal desegregation ruling.

In early March, U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. ordered that $29 million be spent for specific universities after July 1996, in the decision he rendered in United States v. Fordice, the 20-year-old higher education desegregation case. Biggers also mandated other changes and studies that the state's College Board estimated will cost another $7 million.

The funding bill, which failed in the House, will be reworked when it returns to the Senate. The House version would appropriate $227.9 million for operations at the universities, while the Senate bill would give the colleges $236 million.

Words such as "cautious" and "premature" floated on the House floor during debates on the new funding package. Some legislators said they were reluctant to allocate funds to the historically Black Alcorn State, Mississippi Valley and Jackson State until they knew whether the case would be appealed.

"We are still trying to determine what we have to include [this year] and what we don't," said Rep. …

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