With only eight days left in the current legislative session, state lawmakers are running short on both time and options to patch a $200 million hole in the General Fund Budget.
The Alabama House of Representatives is set to vote tomorrow on a budget draft totaling $1.6 billion for next year. That would cut around 200 million dollars from funding for a wide variety of state agencies. House Speaker Mike Hubbard says his aim is to get that budget onto the Senate floor, and then work with Senators on a possible solution to avoid those cuts.
Republican lawmakers in Alabama’s House of Representatives have a new proposal to end the state's budget crisis.
Yesterday, House leaders announced a plan to fix the General Fund budget shortfall through a combination of cost-cutting, consolidation and new taxes. They plan to raise taxes on cigarettes and car rentals, cap paid state employee holidays and transfer revenue from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund.
The proposal would raise nearly $200 million in new revenue. That’s less than half the $541 million Gov. Robert Bentley wants to raise.
A bill to create a new independent governing board for Alabama's two-year college system has hit a stumbling block in the Senate.
Yesterday, the state Senate delayed a vote on a bill to remove the junior college system from the oversight of the state Board of Education after one senator raised several objections to the current version.
The state school board is fighting the legislation and, in March, they unanimously approved a resolution opposing the measure.
The State Board of Education voted Thursday to do away with the exam. State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice says the test is no longer aligned with Alabama's academic standards for students. He says the requirement for graduating now is passing all required courses.
The Alabama Board of Education has delayed releasing a list of schools that are failing under language included in the Alabama Accountability Act.
School board officials said Wednesday that the announcement by schools Superintendent Tommy Bice had been scheduled for Thursday, and was then rescheduled for next week. Officials said the release would likely be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the media briefing room at the Gordon Persons Building.
The Alabama Legislature is close to approving a plan to borrow $50 million to replace outdated equipment in high school technology programs.
Lawmakers hope giving students better equipment will help make a dent in Alabama's dropout rate.
Bond issue legislation has breezed through the House and a Senate committee with only one negative vote. The tech director for the state Board of Education, Philip Cleveland, said schools have not received state money for equipment since they got $10 million in 2005. He said students in some programs are training on outdated equipment.
The Alabama Legislature is getting closer to selling $50 million in bonds to buy equipment for technical programs in Alabama's public schools.
The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee on Wednesday approved bond issue legislation that passed the House earlier. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Alabama's director of technical education, Philip Cleveland, says public schools last received state funding for new technical education equipment in 2005. He says some are teaching students on outdated equipment that is no longer used by Alabama businesses.
Legislation has been introduced in the Alabama House and Senate that would repeal common core standards in schools.
The standards are also known as Alabama's College and Career Ready Standards. Supporters say the standards make it easier for Alabama students to transfer to another school or another state without being far behind or ahead.
The standards were adopted by the state Board of Education in 2010 after a number of public hearings were held around the state.
Alabama schools superintendent Tommy Bice says the state's schools have a comprehensive safety plan which he feels good about.
Bice's comments came during a Thursday work session of the Alabama Board of Education. The session was called to discuss safety in state schools in the wake of last month's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
The superintendent has asked state public school systems to turn in their school safety plans to him by early next month.
The state Board of Education has voted to give nearly $51,000 to a vice chancellor of the two-year college system for serving as interim chancellor for more than six months.
The board decided Thursday to give the money to Vice Chancellor Susan Price because that would have been the difference between her $155,250 annual salary and the chancellor's salary for the time she served.
Price served from March through the hiring of Mark Heinrich in September. The chancellor's base salary is $250,000 annually.
The State Board of Education is meeting to interview the two finalists for chancellor of Alabama's two-year college system.
The board has interviews in Montgomery starting at 9 a.m. Thursday with Mark Heinrich, who is president of Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, and Blake Flanders, who is vice president of workforce development for the Kansas Board of Regents.
The school board is looking for a replacement for Freida Hill, who stepped down in March under pressure from some board members.