Alabama education

Today may be the day of reckoning for supporters of football at The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

UAB President Ray Watts says he will announce his decision today on whether to reinstate the Blazers football program, as well as the bowling and rifle teams. The initial announcement to cancel UAB football angered students, alumni, and local community leaders.

We spoke to Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin about the situation. He says the loss of UAB football has a wide impact.

Indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard is back in court for another hearing ahead of his fall trial on felony ethics charges.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker heard arguments and testimony today on various motions in the case.

Hubbard's defense team wants to dismiss the case. They argue there was prosecutorial misconduct. They also believe Attorney General Luther Strange did not have the authority to select an acting attorney general when he stepped aside from the case.

Alabama is delaying its planned severe weather preparedness day because of the very real severe weather much of the state is experiencing.

Tomorrow was supposed to be "Ready Alabama Preparedness Day." Events would have included thousands of schoolchildren gathering in downtown Birmingham for weather education sessions. But the state says it's delaying the event out of caution and concern for the safety of both students and the first responders who would be teaching the sessions.

Today is the day the nation observes the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

With the incidents in Ferguson, Mo., New York City and the recent release of the film Selma, civil rights are once again at the forefront of people's minds.

Doug Shipman is the CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. He believes if Dr. King were still alive, he would be still be working towards his goal of equality.

Vanderbilt University

A national study says Alabama's cuts in spending for K-12 education have been deeper than nearly every other state.

The Washington-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says spending per pupil dropped 17.8 percent from fiscal 2008 to the current fiscal year. That is second only to Oklahoma. The study said the amount cut per student in Alabama was $1,128 between fiscal 2008 and now. That is $114 per student steeper than any other state.

Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne is pushing for changes to education in Alabama that he says will make the system work better.  He says in speaking with school superintendents in the Mobile area, one thing he’s hearing a lot is that the federal government is at times making the jobs of educators' lives harder.

A report by the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says Alabama's cuts to K-12 education are the nation's second worst since the recession began.

   The Washington-based group says Alabama's investment in K-12 education has declined 20 percent since 2008, when adjusted for inflation. Only Oklahoma had deeper cuts. The study was based on 2008 because it was the last year before the recession curtailed state tax collections.

Alabama School Readiness Alliance

Alabama will award nearly $7.3 million in grants to increase the number of children enrolled in its pre-kindergarten programs.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced the grant recipients Wednesday. The spending is part of a $9.4 million funding increase approved by the state Legislature.

Bentley had earlier sought an additional $12.5 million in state funding for the program in Alabama's education budget, though lawmakers ultimately approved less money.

The Alabama Senate worked late Tuesday night to approve an education budget and a 2 percent pay raise for K-12 employees.

The Senate voted 22-11 for a nearly $5.8 billion budget that would increase spending slightly on schools next year. Then it voted 18-16 to give teachers a 2 percent raise. Both the budget and the pay raise bill must return to the House for review on Thursday.

The raise would be the first for K-12 employees since October 2007. It would take effect when the new budget begins on Oct. 1.

AP Photo/Dave Martin

Republican and Democratic legislators say Gov. Robert Bentley's plan to expand Alabama's pre-kindergarten program has broad support and will be approved by the Legislature.

Bentley called for the expansion in his State of the State address Tuesday night. Senate Democratic leader Vivian Davis Figures said an expansion will provide a solid foundation for Alabama children.