Alabama Education budget


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.”

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says lawmakers will pass a General Fund budget, and did not rule out adjourning the session early after the budget is passed.

Marsh says lawmakers will concentrate their final meeting days on bills that could save money or generate some funds for the cash-strapped General Fund budget.

However, the Republican Senate leader cautioned the bills weren't enough to make a "big change" in the budget that faces a $200 million shortfall next fiscal year.

Time has run out on a bill to legalize gambling and a state lottery in Alabama, and efforts to avoid deep state budget cuts may be too little too late as well.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s gambling bill didn't get a floor vote on the Senate yesterday, and legislative rules make it extremely difficult to pass controversial Senate bills in the final four days of the 30-day session.

Senators also adjourned yesterday before voting on a bill to transfer $100 million from the Education Trust Fund to the cash-strapped General Fund.

The University of Alabama is teaming up with researchers across the country to study the nation's water.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association just unveiled its newest national center on the Tuscaloosa campus yesterday afternoon.

The $24 million National Water Center is a collaboration between several federal agencies. It will become the U.S. center for water forecasting as well as research and water management.

NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says they plan to hit the ground running at the new center with a research project starting this summer.

The singer who became famous for the song "When a Man Loves a Woman" died yesterday. Percy Sledge had a massive impact on what became known as the "Muscle Shoals sound".

Sledge walked into a recording studio in Alabama's Muscle Shoals region in 1966. In a few weeks, his signature song "When a Man Loves a Woman" would become the first of his five gold records.

Dick Cooper is the Curator of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He says Sledge's legacy was defined when he was just 25 years old.

State of Alabama

  Gov. Robert Bentley won't make a quick decision on whether to sign the state's Education Trust Fund budget or force lawmakers back into a special session over the issue of a raise for education employees.

Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis said Friday that there is no timeframe on when he will make a decision.

Bentley has until April 13 to sign the budget into law or it will die through a pocket veto.


Gov. Robert Bentley says he still hopes to get a 2 percent pay raise approved for public school employees.

Bentley said Monday that he's glad that he and legislative leaders agreed to increase funding for the education employees' health insurance program, and he says that should keep them from having to pay higher costs. But Bentley says he wants the Legislature to do more with three meeting days left in the legislative session.

A House committee has approved an education budget aimed at giving teachers more money for their health insurance instead of a raise or bonus.

The House Ways and Means - Education Committee voted 10-4 for the budget Wednesday morning.

The spending plan strips away a one-time 1 percent bonus for public education employees approved by the Alabama Senate.

Gov. Robert Bentley is proposing state budgets that would require most state agencies to get by next year with about the same amount they are receiving this year.

Bentley's proposals include increases for all levels of public education.

Bentley's office released his recommended budgets Tuesday, which is the second day of the Legislature's 2014 session.

Bentley's state General Fund budget for the next fiscal year would spend $1.8 billion. The biggest increase is $70 million is for Medicaid. Courts would get a small increase.

Republican state Rep. Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa has been named chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Education Committee.

Poole was appointed to the position Wednesday by Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn. Effective Aug. 1, he will replace Republican Rep. Jay Love of Montgomery, who last week announced he is resigning his position in the Legislature.

Gov. Robert Bentley has signed the state General Fund budget and state education budget into law.

Gov. Robert Bentley says his first impression of the state education and state general fund budgets is that they are basically fine.

   Bentley said Wednesday it appears legislators put some pork projects into the budgets and he's still reviewing a few items. But he sad he hasn't seen any major problems yet.

The Associated Press

The Alabama Legislature has approved a compromise General Fund budget that increases funding for courts and prisons.

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.

The Alabama Legislature enters the final three days of the 2013 legislative session with the main priority being passage of the education and General Fund budgets.

Passage of the two budgets are the only tasks lawmakers are constitutionally required to complete before the end of the regular session, expected to be May 20.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Plans to address the education budget Thursday in the state Senate got postponed.

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Jabo Waggoner of Vestavia Hills says the budget was being delayed until next week because of disagreements over a pay raise for K-12 employees and other issues.

Senate budget committee Chairman Trip Pittman of Daphne favors a 1 percent raise with the possibility of a 1 percent bonus. The House approved a 2 percent raise. Pittman says he may come around to the House's view if he sees the raise is sustainable in future years.

The Alabama House has adopted a $5.7 billion budget that gives teachers and other education employees their first pay raise since 2008.

The spending plan gives public school employees a 2 percent raise. That's less than the 5 percent increase supported by Democratic lawmakers.

The budget was adopted late Wednesday after more than six hours of debate on the spending plan and a separate pay raise bill.

House members voted 62-37 against a proposed amendment by Democratic Rep. Richard Lindsey of Centre to increase the raise to 5 percent.

The Alabama Legislature is returning from its spring break and beginning the second half of its 2013 session.

The House Ways and Means-Education Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the state education budget for Tuesday morning. The House has a proposed work agenda Tuesday afternoon that includes a bill to legalize home brewing of beer and wine.

The Associated Press

The Alabama Legislature begins the second half of its 2013 session on Tuesday.

Gov. Robert Bentley says his priority for the second half is passing balanced budgets. The former House representative says that's the Legislature's only constitutional duty. A House committee is scheduled to begin work on the education budget Tuesday. The Senate has already approved the General Fund budget and sent it to a House committee.

The Alabama Legislature has wrapped up the first half of its 2013 session and gone on spring break.

Wednesday marked the 15th meeting day of the session. Lawmakers left the capital city Wednesday evening and will return April 2 for their final 15 meeting days.

The issues remaining for the second half of the session include the state education budget and the General Fund budget.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

TROY photo/Matt Clower

University students from throughout the state are planning to gather at the Statehouse in Montgomery for the annual Higher Education Day Rally.

The event organized by the Higher Education Partnership starts at 11 a.m. Thursday. It traditionally draws more than 2,000 students, faculty, alumni and supporters. The executive director of the partnership, Gordon Stone, says participants will encourage state officials to give higher education a larger percentage of the state education budget.

State of Alabama

Alabama's governor is proposing an education budget that gives small increases to all levels of education from kindergarten through college.

Gov. Robert Bentley unveiled his recommended budgets Wednesday. His education budget includes a 2.5 percent pay raise for public school employees and a substantial expansion of Alabama's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds.

Gov. Robert Bentley says his proposed budgets for the new fiscal year are slightly better than this year's budgets.

Bentley told legislators in his State of the State address Tuesday night that Alabama's economy is improving and that's allowing him to recommend more education spending. His plan includes expanding Alabama's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds and giving a 2.5 percent cost-of-living raise to teachers. He did not recommend a raise for state employees.

Bentley's finance director, Marquita Davis, will release the details of his budget proposals Wednesday.