University of West Alabama

The University of West Alabama takes a big step forward toward opening its own charter school today, amid some concerns that the school may siphon state funding from existing schools in the area.

Pre-registration begins today for Sumter County students from Kindergarten to eighth grade who are interested in attending the new University Charter School.

Members of the Alabama Public Charter School Commission met with school officials in Livingston last month to sign the charter for the new facility, which will teach science, math, technology, and art.

Two more charter schools could be opening in the state next year, after the governing commission approved their applications.

Al.com reports the Alabama Public Charter School Commission fully approved one applicant and conditionally approved another.

Students will be paying a little more to attend the University of West Alabama this fall.

The university’s Board of Trustees has approved a 4.5 percent increase in tuition in order to address some anticipated increases in operating expenses in the upcoming fiscal year. The Tuscaloosa News reports the annual rates for Alabama residents’ tuition would increase by about $327 dollars per year. Out of state students will pay $655 more next year.

Graduate tuition is also increasing, by around $263 for state residents and $454 for out-of-state grad students.

Residents of Sumter County with questions about a proposed charter school can voice their questions tonight.

The Alabama Department of Education is coordinating a public hearing on the proposed new school to be held in Livingston. The University of West Alabama is hoping to open a charter school catering to children from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The proposed school would teach science, math, technology, and art.

The University of West Alabama is planning to launch a program that would give future teachers scholarships and other assistance if they pledge to teach in a Black Belt community for at least three years.

The Tuscaloosa News reports that the first round of scholarships for the Black Belt Teaching Corps will be awarded in the upcoming spring semester.

Dean Jan Miller says the Julia S. Tutwiler College of Education at the University of West Alabama will award 10 scholarships each year to education majors.

Alabama’s legislative session gets underway tomorrow and the focus, is expected to be on the budget.

The state’s two spending plans were center stage during last year’s session, and lawmakers are expecting another tight year this time around. Many General Fund agencies like the one that handles Medicaid are now asking for more money.

State House member Bill Poole says the General Fund budget will be a challenge for legislators, but he believes agreements will be reached.

University of West Alabama

The University of West Alabama is getting some help as it starts a new automotive program.

The school at Livingston has received a grant of $100,500 from the Delta Regional Authority that will be used to buy equipment for a new automotive technician certification program.

The program is designed to train workers for part suppliers for Mercedes Benz. The companies are expanding operations following a $2.4 billion investment by the German automaker to add production lines at its plant near Tuscaloosa.