JACKSON (AP) — The Mississippi Senate passed a bill Thursday that attempts to restore more than one-fifth of the budget cuts made so far this fiscal year, but the effort may have been for nothing.
Republican Gov. Haley Barbour said he will veto the bill because he disagrees with the way the $79 million would be distributed. The money would come from the state’s financial reserves, and most of it would go to elementary and secondary education. Barbour said community colleges and other programs would not receive enough.
‘‘This bill spends too much, burns too much of our reserves, and fails to adequately address Corrections, where we still face the possibility of turning criminals loose due to the lack of funding,’’ he said Thursday.
Barbour is in his seventh year as governor, and lawmakers have never overridden one of his vetoes. Based on Thursday’s 26-22 vote, the Senate is far from the two-thirds majority it would take to override.
Legislative leaders said they’ll work on another plan to plug holes in the budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30, but an agreement could still be days or weeks away.
Mississippi revenues have fallen short of expectations 17 months in a row, and Barbour has cut $458.5 million out of what started last summer as a nearly $6 billion state budget. Most programs are losing nearly 8.7 percent of their money.
Leaders of school districts and state agencies have been scrambling to cut expenses.
DeSoto County School District, the largest in the state, has lost $10.2 million through budget cuts. The bill that passed Thursday proposed restoring nearly $2.1 million of that.
The DeSoto County School Board has approved Superintendent Milton Kuykendall’s recommendation to cut his own salary by 10 percent, about $16,000; the salaries of five assistant superintendents by 8 percent; and the salaries of principals and directors by 4.2 percent.
DeSoto schools’ director of community relations, Katherine Nelson, said the district also has laid off some employees and has started a hiring freeze.
Leflore County School District, in the economically struggling Delta, lost nearly $1.1 million in budget cuts, and the bill that passed Thursday would restore $200,146.
Superintendent Willie Jean Hall said the Leflore schools are delaying the purchase of textbooks and supplies, increasing some class sizes, reducing travel expenses and conserving energy to save money.
‘‘We have always been poor and so we know how to take a little money and do a lot with it,’’ Hall said Thursday. ‘‘But when you keep going to the coffer, as we call it, and there’s no money — of course it catches up with you.’’
Four Republicans joined 22 Democrats in passing the budget restoration bill Thursday. One Democrat joined 21 Republicans in opposing it. Three Democrats did not vote, and the Senate has one vacant seat.
Republican Sen. Billy Hudson of Hattiesburg was among those breaking ranks with his party.
‘‘My mama was a school teacher 30 years in Mississippi and about near starved to death,’’ Hudson said. ‘‘I’m just not up here to vote with the governor. Now, I’ll vote with the governor when I think he’s right. I’m here to vote with my constituents and my conscience.’’
The bill is Senate Bill 2688.