Alabama Education Association

 

The Alabama legislature met in special session on Monday to resolve the on-going debate over the general fund budget. Both chambers recessed the same day, with an eye on meeting again next month. One proposal is to merge the general fund with the spending plan for Alabama schools. Whether that ideas works or not is one issue. APR political commentator Steve Flowers says one trick state lawmakers have avoided in the past is a political case of “robbing Paul to pay Peter.”

The voting is over regarding charter schools in Alabama. Now, the big question is how to implement these non-traditional schools and what happens next.

Governor Robert Bentley put Alabama in line with 42 other states by signing SB45 into law last month, allowing charter schools to operate. Perhaps the most asked question about these non-traditional schools is what exactly the difference is between them and a regular public school.

Henry Mabry has officially stepped down as the head of the Alabama Education Association.

His resignation comes after the AEA board voted back in February to terminate Mabry after an audit raised concerns about his financial management of the organization.

Mabry replaced longtime AEA head Paul Hubbert in 2011. It was Hubbert who built the education organization into a massive political powerhouse. Hubbert expressed some grave concerns about the AEA's fiscal health before he passed away last year.

The Jefferson County School Board recently announced sweeping cuts for the school system, which will include substantial layoffs.

The Board plans to cut $12.6 million from the system budget and to eliminate 162 positions. Other staff members will see their contracts shortened.

Superintendent Dr. Craig Pouncey says the system's budget had been running at a deficit of around $10 million a year. By that rate, he says, the county could have been in danger of not making payroll within 3 or 4 years.

The Jefferson County School Board recently announced sweeping cuts for the school system, which will include substantial layoffs.

The Board plans to cut $12.6 million from the system budget and to eliminate 162 positions. Other staff members will see their contracts shortened.

Superintendent Dr. Craig Pouncey says the system's budget had been running at a deficit of around $10 million a year. By that rate, he says, the county could have been in danger of not making payroll within 3 or 4 years.

Channel & Hicks
Alex AuBuchon

There’s been a new twist in Alabama’s same sex marriage controversy. No new marriage licenses for same-sex couples will be issued, at least for now.

Alabama Republican lawmakers are getting ready for a major push for the establishment of charter schools.

A charter school bill will be a top priority for the GOP when the legislative session kicks off next week.

Charter schools are publicly funded schools that operate outside the rules and regulations of regular public schools.

The bill, if passed, would allow up to 10 new charter schools to be established in Alabama each year. It would also allow school systems to convert an unlimited number of existing schools to charter status.

The Alabama Republican Party has a new leader. Voters elected Terry Lathan of Mobile as chairwoman of the state party.

Lathan is a former schoolteacher and has worked 35 years in various leadership positions in the Mobile County GOP and the state executive committee. She defeated former state representative Mary Sue McClurkin.

Lathan is entering the leadership role with Alabama's Republican party at a historical high point. The GOP holds every statewide office, supermajorities in the legislature and controls the state appeals courts.

opensecrets.org

The state teachers' lobby has given Democratic candidate for governor Parker Griffith another financial boost.

The Alabama Education Association contributed $300,000 to Griffith's campaign on Friday. AEA also gave Griffith $300,000 in September.

The teachers' lobby is by far Griffith's largest cash contributor. Campaign finance reports show AEA's contributions make up $600,000 of the $647,000 in contributions raised by Griffith. The former congressman has also loaned his campaign $391,000.

Griffith and Republican Gov. Robert Bentley face off Nov. 4.

Alabama Education Association

The Alabama State Employees Association and Alabama Education Association have lost a lawsuit over a state law that cut off a major source of their funding.

The Alabama Supreme Court on Friday reversed a preliminary injunction that the two groups got a Montgomery judge to issue against the state comptroller. It had blocked the comptroller from enforcing rules to implement a 2010 law. That law prohibited Alabama's public employees from having membership dues deducted from their paychecks if the dues were going to a group involved in political activity.

educationnews.org

The Alabama Education Association board of directors met behind closed doors for four hours Friday to discuss concerns raised by its longtime leader.

Former AEA executive secretary Paul Hubbert, in a Tuesday letter to board members, said AEA was in crisis. Hubbert said he was concerned about the association's finances and also the management style of current executive secretary Henry Mabry.

AEA President Anita Gibson said board members had extensive discussions about the issues raised by Hubbert.

Alabama Education Association

The Alabama Education Association board of directors is set to meet Friday night in the wake of a letter from the retired leader of the group, who says the organization is now in.

Hubbert sent a letter this week to the AEA's board, saying the group is in danger of losing its strong membership and financial might that made it a formidable force in Alabama politics.

Hubbert led the AEA for more than 40 years before retiring in 2011 for health reasons.

Alabama Education Association

The Alabama Education Association's political action committee is using more than $1 million in loans to help support candidates after spending on primary races earlier this year.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports a campaign finance report filed last week shows AEA's political action committee took out a loan of more than $1.2 million in addition to borrowing $500,000 in July.

Alabama Education Association

The main funding source for one of the largest and best financed organizations in the state, the Alabama Education Association, has ended.

The organization is no longer able to use payroll deductions to collect dues to support its activities. AEA had a court-approved deadline of Monday to comply with a newly enforced state law on limiting payroll deductions.

An Alabama judge will delay enforcing his decision outlawing tax credits for private school students in Alabama.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Gene Reese issued a hand-written order Monday agreeing to delay implementation of his ruling against the Republican-based Alabama Accountability Act.

The judge agreed with the state to block his order, meaning the tax credit program can go ahead while appeals courts consider the issue.

The law allows state tax credits for parents who move their children from failing public schools to private schools.

Alabama Education Association

Republican incumbents in the Alabama Senate have claimed victory, repelling a slate of challengers funded by the state teachers' lobby and an anti-Common Core group.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh called Tuesday night a great one for incumbents.

One Senate GOP incumbent, Sen. Jerry Fielding of Talladega lost to Rep. Jim McClendon, but that race was separate from the AEA-involved races.

In the House, AEA backed candidates defeated several incumbents in the hopes of slowing down a GOP legislative train that has often been at odds with the teachers' lobby.

kootation.com

The judge who overturned the Alabama Accountability Act is being asked to put his ruling on hold while state officials appeal.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Gene Reese ruled Wednesday that the law is unconstitutional. Attorneys representing state officials and two families that use the law filed a request Thursday for the judge to stay his ruling while they appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. They say the ruling will cause irreparable injury if it is not put on hold.

istockphoto

A Montgomery judge has struck down Alabama's tax credits for parents who move their children from failing public schools to private schools.

Circuit Judge Gene Reese ruled Wednesday that the Alabama Accountability Act is unconstitutional. He said it violates the state Constitution's requirement for the Legislature to have only one subject in a bill.

The Legislature passed the law in 2013. It was challenged in court by members of the state teachers' organization, the Alabama Education Association.

RNC

A bitter war is erupting for control of the Alabama Statehouse and this time it is Republican versus Republican.

Republicans won a majority in the Alabama Legislature in 2010, but in 2014 many incumbents are facing primary party challenges.

Republican Senate leader Del Marsh called many of the challengers RINOs, or Republicans in name only. He said many were funded by the Alabama Education Association, which has often been at odds with current legislators.

Alabama Education Association

Alabama school systems will have to stop collecting dues for the state's largest teachers' group under a new court order.

Shelby County Circuit Judge Bill Bostick approved an agreement Thursday that means systems can't collect money for the Alabama Education Association after June 30 without special certification.

The order came in a lawsuit filed earlier this month by a Hoover woman who claimed officials were moving too slowly to implement a Republican-backed law that forbids payroll deduction to political groups.

Alabama Education Association

A lawsuit has been filed to block state education officials from allowing payroll deductions from public school employees to fund the Alabama Education Association.

A Hoover woman who filed the suit in Shelby County Circuit Court Wednesday says the AEA hasn't ensured that dues being paid by public school employees won't be used to fund Alabama Voices for Teachers for Education, the AEA's political action committee.

Alabama Education Association

The state teachers' organization is fighting private school tax credits in court and the architect of the tax credits at the ballot box.

The Alabama Education Association's political action committee filed a campaign finance report showing the largest donation it gave in March was $50,000 to Democratic state Senate candidate Taylor Stewart of Anniston. Stewart is opposing Republican Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston, who was the chief architect of the Alabama Accountability Act.

It will be a few weeks before a judge decides a legal challenge to the new Alabama law providing tax credits for private education.

Montgomery Circuit Judge Gene Reese heard arguments Thursday on a lawsuit the Alabama Education Association filed over the Alabama Accountability Act.

The judge is giving attorneys two weeks to submit proposed orders and says he will rule afterward.

istockphoto

The state teachers' organization, a mining company and an Indian tribe that operates casinos are among the top campaign contributions in Alabama for next year's elections.

Campaign finance records show the Alabama Education Association has donated $770,000 to candidates since June. AEA Executive Secretary Henry Mabry said the group is donating to Democrats and Republicans who support public education.

The Birmingham-based Drummond Co. has donated $489,000. That included $25,000 donations to both Gov. Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange.

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The Alabama Supreme Court has changed some of the wording its recent ruling tossing out a lawsuit against the Alabama Accountability Act, but it didn't change the result.

On Sept. 20, the state's highest court blocked a lawsuit that members of the Alabama Education Association filed against four legislators to challenge the new law. Even though the legislators won, they asked the court to reconsider part of the ruling that said the Accountability Act appropriated public funds.

istockphoto

Statewide elections are still more than a year away, but candidates are busy raising money.

The Anniston Star reported Sunday that state finance records show more than $11 million has been raised since June — when candidates first became eligible to receive contributions for their 2014 campaigns.

The newspaper says Republican candidates have picked up $6.8 million of that cash, while Democrats garnered only $861,000. Political action committees pulled in $6.3 million over the same time period.

istockphoto

The Alabama Supreme Court has blocked a lawsuit challenging a new law that provides tax credits for attending private schools.

globaltradelawyer.net

A three-judge panel from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hold 15 hearings in Montgomery next week, the latest in the court's practice of holding hearings across the southeast.

   At least four of the hearings to be held Tuesday through Friday involve Alabama cases.

   One of the hearings set for Wednesday is regarding an issue that is part of a lawsuit challenging a state law that prohibits the Alabama Education Association and the Alabama State Employees Association from using automatic payroll deduction to collect dues from workers.

myaea.org

The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill to remove the executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association from the board that oversees the state pension system for education employees.

   The House voted 61-42 Thursday and the Senate voted 17-14 to pass the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa.

educationnews.org

The Alabama Education Association was once the unquestioned power in the Alabama statehouse. But that's changed since Republicans won a supermajority in the House and Senate in 2010.

Lawmakers around the country have made significant changes to teacher tenure, expanded charter schools and introduced different versions of voucher programs. But in Alabama, these kinds of changes have been part of a political upheaval not seen in most states.

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