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.

Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6979155
DeSoto542555
Harrison374372
Jackson339967
Madison321286
Rankin319375
Lee261067
Jones242778
Forrest239570
Washington218171
Lafayette209239
Lauderdale2007124
Bolivar179565
Oktibbeha175450
Lamar163534
Neshoba1540103
Panola144527
Sunflower142144
Lowndes140357
Warren138150
Leflore137080
Pontotoc123616
Pike121348
Monroe118965
Scott116425
Copiah116333
Coahoma112827
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106853
Grenada106235
Yazoo103929
Simpson101443
Union97824
Tate95537
Leake94037
Adams92136
Wayne87721
Pearl River86750
Marion84133
Prentiss81517
Covington80922
Alcorn77511
Itawamba77021
Newton75923
Tallahatchie75718
George75113
Winston72519
Tishomingo66137
Chickasaw65624
Tippah64516
Attala64125
Walthall59425
Clay58117
Hancock56421
Jasper55515
Noxubee54315
Clarke53739
Smith52414
Calhoun50612
Tunica48113
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41814
Perry40918
Quitman3755
Humphreys37315
Stone35711
Greene34617
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32811
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2439
Benton2201
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131988

Reported Deaths: 2304
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
Morgan321426
Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
Talladega207726
Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
Fayette4269
Sumter41819
Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
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