Senate approves teacher raise, education budget

MGN Online

The Alabama Senate on Thursday approved a 4% pay increase for teachers and other public school employees as part of a record $7 billion education spending plan.

Posted: May 3, 2019 11:10 AM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Senate on Thursday approved a 4% pay increase for teachers and other public school employees as part of a record $7 billion education spending plan.

Senators on Thursday approved the pay raise and education trust fund budget, sending both bills to the House of Representatives. The education budget, which is fueled by sales and income taxes, rebounded past pre-recession levels of 2008 to hit a record high.

Sen. Arthur Orr, chairman of the budget writing committee, said the raise was a start to trying to address a teacher shortage in the state. "If you look at our educators now, they have just caught up with inflation from 2008," said Orr, R-Decatur.

"We've got to grow that number as far as compensation because we don't have the educators going into education like we used to and the way to attract them is hard dollars in their pocket," he added.

The increase would take starting pay for a teacher with a bachelor's degree to $40,873. Orr said he understands that would get starting pay above the $40,000 mark for the first time.

The budget provides an additional $27 million for the state's voluntary prekindergarten and money to reduce classroom size in grades four through six.

Senators approved the pay raise without a dissenting vote. The budget was approved on a 28-2 vote.

Sen. Vivian Davis Figures said she voted no because she was concerned about money that was set aside for charter schools and the fact that there was not a cost-of-living increase for retired educators. The budget provides $900,000 to the state charter school commission.

"We can always find enough money to start charter schools. We can find enough money now to help people set up charter schools which will further deplete education trust fund money. We've never really adequately funded education in the state of Alabama," said Davis Figures, D-Mobile.

Orr said it was "regrettable" that they did not have sufficient money for a retiree bonus and said that is "something we are going to continue to look at."

The Republican budget chairman said there are competing education needs, including many that the state has not been able to address.

"We still haven't funded higher education back at 2008 levels. How do they make that up? Through tuition increases. That makes it very costly on Alabama families as they try to send their kids onto college," Orr said.

Other notable increases in the budget includes additional money for English language education, the Alabama Reading Initiative and restoring transportation funding to 2008 levels.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 539829

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798271529
Mobile41261809
Madison35132506
Tuscaloosa25915455
Shelby25294249
Montgomery24705593
Baldwin21392310
Lee15987172
Calhoun14569319
Morgan14422280
Etowah13918353
Marshall12275225
Houston10641282
Elmore10147206
Limestone10065151
St. Clair9946245
Cullman9761194
Lauderdale9457243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8339176
Walker7260278
Autauga7001108
Jackson6836112
Blount6771139
Colbert6320135
Coffee5578118
Dale4876113
Russell445138
Chilton4369113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394777
Chambers3590123
Dallas3568153
Clarke351461
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302698
Winston275773
Bibb264564
Geneva254078
Marengo249665
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale223978
Butler219069
Fayette212662
Henry189643
Cherokee184645
Randolph182442
Monroe178141
Washington167739
Macon161150
Clay157157
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143236
Lowndes140553
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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