MOULTON, Ala. (WHNT) – Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday morning he was signing into law the state’s Education Trust Fund budget as passed by the Legislature. It does not include the 2% pay raise for teachers and support personnel the Governor had sought.
State School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice says he is disappointed about the lack of a pay raise. But he believes overall it’s not a bad budget. Bice attended an annual function at Lawrence County High School in Moulton this morning, and WHNT News 19 spoke with him there.
If Lawrence County’s School Superintendent Heath Grimes isn’t in his office, chances are you’ll find him in one of the schools. He tells us education is an investment in the quality of life.
“Our most precious resource are these students. Education, for the quality of life and our future are so important. We’ve got to make sure that we’re sewing into that, and that we’re investing in that. Until we invest in teachers, then we’re not investing in education,” Grimes said.
Grimes is disappointed there was no pay raise for teachers in the FY 2014-2015 budget but says it’s a better budget than schools have had in the past. State School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice echoed those feelings.
“Some pretty important areas for our kids got under-funded or not funded at all, but at least we know what we’ve got and our school systems can now plan. With that said, we’re okay with it,” Bice told reporters.
Bice said he had hoped to see increases in funding for transportation, and for basic school expenses. He also hoped to add more middle school teachers, but he says the money wasn’t there.
“It is what it is and it’s been signed, so it’s our job now to figure out how to make it work.”
Gov. Bentley chose not to call the special session because he says he believes lawmakers have no intention of passing the pay raise at this time.