March 31, 2011 4:33:00 PM
JACKSON - Mississippi lawmakers will return to the Capitol on Monday to begin passing a nearly $5.5 billion plan to pay for public schools, colleges, mental health services and other state programs during the next fiscal year.
The House and Senate voted Thursday to extend their session to give themselves more time to consider the budget agreement reached late Wednesday. Lawmakers had missed an earlier deadline to pass budget bills.
Republican Gov. Haley Barbour says he approves of the plan.
Lawmakers say the plan provides adequate funding for K-12 public education. Officials say the plan also protects services provided by the Department of Mental Health. The House and Senate had been at odds over how much to spend on K-12 and mental health.