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Hartselle Enquirer

Historic Education Trust Fund Budget passes state Senate 

Special to the Enquirer  

The Alabama State Senate has passed the largest Education Trust Fund budget in the state’s history, totaling $8.26 billion. Sponsored by Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee Chairman Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, the budget provides substantial funding to address the demand to recruit and retain educators in Alabama and better the state’s education standing. 

“The budget passed today in the Senate provides a substantial amount of funding that will allow us the opportunity to address several critical educational needs across the state, the most noteworthy of these being the desperate need to attract and retain educators,” said Orr. “I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for, and if we want to be serious about our ability to attract and keep educators, then we must make a substantial investment to support these individuals. 

“This ETF budget allows for those critical investments to be made and enables Alabama to be competitive with neighboring states in the recruiting process, as well as growing and expanding in other areas to help improve education overall,” Orr added. “I am pleased with the Senate’s passage of this historic education budget, and I applaud Ways and Means Education Chairman Danny Garrett for his work on this effort in the House of Representatives.” 

The Senate-approved Education Trust Fund budget addresses several important priorities: 

  • Presents record pay increases for experienced public school teachers, including a raise in minimum salaries for teachers with nine or more years of experience and an annual one percent raise for all educators. 
  • Expands existing dual enrollment programs through the Alabama Community College System and allows for the continuation, expansion and development of a dual enrollment scholarship program for academic and career-technical education programs. 
  • Allocates funding to initiate the Alabama Numeracy Act, which will enhance the mathematic proficiency of public elementary students through summer learning programs, assessment tests, accountability standards for teachers and principals and additional training and standards for teacher education programs. 
  • Fully funds the required balance of the Education Trust Fund Stabilization Fund and repays any outstanding loans. 
  • Expands career and technical education programs by providing new or updated equipment, ensuring that career tech programs meet current business and industry standards to equip students with the training and skills necessary to generate a workforce for new, existing or expanding jobs.   

The budget passed unanimously in the Senate and moves back to the House of Representatives for concurrence.