Alabama Community College System

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.

A Senate committee has approved a bill that would repeal Common Core standards in Alabama public schools.

The State Senate Committee on Education and Youth Affairs voted 5-3 yesterday morning in favor of repealing current standards applying to math and English curriculums.

Those standards are built into the state's Alabama College and Career Ready Standards.

Supporters of the bill say repealing Common Core gives more control to state and local educators.

Opponents say it would put Alabama behind other states and disrupt learning.

A bill to establish charter schools in Alabama was signed into law yesterday by Governor Bentley.

The Alabama Legislature gave its final approval to the bill on Wednesday after several hours of contentious debate in the House of Representatives.

Republicans call the bill a session priority, saying that the schools will spark innovation and provide education choices for families.

Opponents argue the new schools will drain education resources and criticize the potential involvement of for-profit companies in certain school operations.

The president of Gadsden State Community College is out on paid administrative leave and an interim president is taking over.

The chancellor of the Alabama Community College System, Mark Heinrich, announced Monday that President Ray Staats was placed on paid administrative leave. Heinrich named William Blow acting president.

Blow is a retired executive from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. He served as interim president at Gadsden State before Staats was hired in 2011. His appointment is effective Aug. 1.

Alabama community colleges are expanding their course offerings that prepare students to start and run their own businesses. reports ( ) the Alabama Community College System plans to add classes in entrepreneurship and support programs. Gadsden State Community College this semester rolled out an entrepreneurship program to train students how to deal with common financial and marketing issues.