HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Casey Wardynski addressed the media today to discuss a proposal by some lawmakers in Montgomery to move money from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund Budget.
He started off by mentioning how lucky Huntsville City Schools are because of the support the city offers the system. So much so, that the school system is able to send $22 million a year back to Montgomery to help other school systems in the state that don't have the same support.
State senators passed a bill, SB30, which would allow funds to be moved from the Education Trust Fun to the General Fund to cover other expenditures throughout the state.
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Wardynski says this means any time the General Fund Budget ran short, school systems across the state would have to deal with proration reaching into the Education Trust Fund, putting the burden on the schools. He says Huntsville City Schools could immediately be impacted in that situation because, under proration, the state could pull $18 million out of Huntsville with very short notice.
That move, according to Wardynski, would require the school system to remove teachers, re-consolidate classrooms and remove services. He doesn't believe those in north Alabama planned for their local tax money to go to the state like that.
Wardynski says he has spoken with several lawmakers who oppose this legislation, but not all. "So I would encourage voters to reach to their legislators, their senators, and let them know that they did not vote property taxes and sales taxes for education to see those taxes swept out of Huntsville through prorations of our reserves into the general fund," Wardynski said.
He asks families to contact legislators. Here's a link - just enter your address and you'll find contact links for each of the people who represent you.
Later Thursday, Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler released a similar statement, denouncing the proposed education budget cuts.
"Taking money from the education budget to help plug the General Fund will only serve to make problems worse," said Dr. Fowler. "It would be penny wise and pound foolish to use resources needed to prepare 746,000 public schoolchildren for productive futures. Education costs money, but the price is heavier providing an inferior education in terms of quality of life in communities, property values, crime and poverty rates, employment, and being attractive for business growth. We urge our legislators to not lose sight of the multiplier effect education has on children’s futures and on the economy."