education budget

The Alabama House of Representatives voted unanimously yesterday to approve an education budget that gives teachers their first pay raise in several years.

The spending plan would give a 4 percent raise to teachers making less than $75,000 annually, and a 2 percent raise to all other teachers in the state.

All 105 state representatives approved the budget, sending it to the Alabama Senate for consideration.

In 2013, lawmakers approved a 2 percent pay raise for teachers, but that was offset by increases in benefit costs. The last raise before that came in 2007.

The University of Alabama Systems' chancellor is spearheading a coalition from kindergarten to four-year institution leaders to advocate the state's education system.

The Alabama Unites for Education coalition launched last week to protect the state's education budget. The Tuscaloosa News reports the group includes the leadership of the University of Alabama System, the Alabama Community College System, and the Alabama Department of Education as well as the presidents of UA’s three campuses and Auburn University.

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.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

Two Republican legislators who designed Alabama's first proration-free education budget in several years say they are optimistic the state's new education budget will also avoid midyear cutbacks. Senate budget committee Chairman Trip Pittman and House budget committee Chairman Jay Love said Wednesday the first education budget they designed avoided midyear cutbacks due to tight spending controls and an improving economy. It was for the 2011-2012 school year.