Alabama Education Superintendent Tommy Bice

Tommy Bice

Alabama Department of Education Superintendent Tommy Bice says he will propose raising teacher salaries over the next three years.

Bice said yesterday his department would recommend raising teachers' salaries 5 percent in fiscal year 2017, which begins next October.

The state government will have the final word on public school spending next year. According to the department, the raise would cost $160 million.

Bice says he will seek additional raises in 2018 and 2019, with the goal of bringing teacher salaries in line with inflation.

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.

Florida Atlantic University

Decatur schools officials say an increase of immigrant students has faced district officials with unexpected educational and financial challenges.

The Decatur Daily reported Tuesday that Superintendent Ed Nichols said some of the roughly two dozen Central American children have enrolled in Decatur schools are unable to speak English or have never been enrolled in a formal school.

The Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama's school superintendent is telling all Alabama public school systems to start using a new student enrollment process that makes clear a Social Security number or birth certificate is not necessary for enrollment.

School officials from throughout Alabama are expected to gather in Tuscaloosa this week for an education conference.

The Tuscaloosa News reports state schools Superintendent Tommy Bice is scheduled as the main speaker for the annual State of Our Schools luncheon at the Hotel Capstone.

The Alabama Department of Education has announced the new list of failing public schools, where students can transfer to other non-failing public schools or to private schools.

The department says five schools were added to the new list. They are Barbour County Intermediate School, Lafayette High School, Abbeville High School, Jeremiah A. Denton Middle School in Mobile County, and Bessemer High School.


Alabama's school board is postponing a decision on new school textbooks after conservatives complained they promote Islam and oppose Christianity.

State School Superintendent Tommy Bice asked for the delay Thursday following complaints by the Eagle Forum of Alabama and ACT for America.

The groups complained that 12 textbooks proposed for social studies classes have a pro-Muslim slant and are anti-Christian.

albertogp123 / Flickr

Alabama's high school graduation exam is no more.

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 Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama's public schools aren't seeing an exodus of students taking advantage of private school tax credits.

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice told the state school board Thursday that preliminary survey data shows 51 students have used the new Alabama Accountability Act to transfer from a failing public school to a private school.

He told that not all school systems have responded to a department survey, but he doesn't expect the figure to increase much because the state's largest systems have responded.

Alabama's school superintendent is telling city and county school officials that policies prohibiting firearms on school property were not affected by the state's new gun law.

The Montgomery Advertiser

With schools preparing to begin classes next month, Alabama's school superintendent is reminding city and county school officials that students don't need a Social Security number to enroll, and their parents don't need an Alabama driver's license or state-issued ID to enroll them.


The sponsor of a bill to repeal the state's use of Common Core education standards has decided to kill his own bill.

The chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Republican Dick Brewbaker of Montgomery, took the action Wednesday when it became clear his committee wouldn't remove the Common Core standards.

The governor says running over his own education allies was worth it to get tax credits to help children in failing public schools transfer to private schools.

Gov. Robert Bentley says he and other Republican leaders didn't tell the state school superintendent and other education leaders that they were planning to expand a school flexibility bill into a tax credit bill because they would have opposed it. School Superintendent Tommy Bice says the final product caught him by surprise and it was not the school flexibility bill that he had endorsed.

The Alabama House Education Policy Committee has approved a bill to give local school systems the ability to waive certain regulations or requirements.

The committee voted Wednesday afternoon in favor of the measure by Rep. Chad Fincher, R- Semmes.

Supporters, including state schools Superintendent Tommy Bice, told lawmakers that research has shown reducing rules and regulations can increase creativity in the classroom. Bice called the bill a vote of confidence in teachers and school leaders.

Tommy Bice

The Alabama Board of Education will hold a work session to discuss ways to keep Alabama schools safe.

The work session will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Gordon Persons Building in Montgomery.

Superintendent Tommy Bice has asked superintendents across the state to submit the safety plans for their schools in light of last month's shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

(Information in the following story is from: Montgomery Advertiser,

Alabama's state school superintendent says he expects the Montgomery County school system to have a plan by Christmas to make sure grade-changing doesn't occur again.

State Superintendent Tommy Bice said the state Department of Education wants the plan for institutional control in place before the second semester starts. The department will appoint a monitor to make sure the school system carries out its new plan. / Alabama Department of Education

The State Board of Education is recommending its first post-recession budget for public schools. The budget recommendation approved Thursday seeks to replace one-third of the nearly 1,400 teaching positions that were cut during the recession.

It also seeks to restore textbook spending and school operational funds that were cut.

The board is recommending $4.1 billion for K-12 schools in the next school year. That's up $415 million from this year. Next year's overall state education budget is expected to increase nearly $408 million to $5.9 billion.

Alabama Education Association plans to lobby to get teachers a 10 percent raise over the next two years if the money is available.

AEA Executive Secretary Henry Mabry says it would be the first pay raise for teachers in five years. Mabry says inflation is hurting teacher incomes and good salaries help attract strong teachers and other personnel.

AEA estimates the average teacher makes about $48,000 per year. School support personnel, who would be included in the raise request, make about $16,000.

Alabama education officials say the state is No. 1 in the nation for the growth in high school students making qualifying scores on Advanced Placement exams for the last five years and for the growth in minority students taking AP courses.

Gov. Robert Bentley, state school Superintendent Tommy Bice and supporters of the A Plus College Ready program announced Monday in Millbrook that qualifying scores have gone up 102 percent and minority participation 318 percent over the last five years.