Pay raise for Alabama school employees approved by lawmakers

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers have approved a 2.5 percent pay raise for teachers and school employees that will cost more than $100 million.

The Alabama Senate voted 29-0 Thursday for the pay raise in the education budget for the next fiscal year.

The total $6.7 billion budget included a controversial $1.2 million boost to Alabama State University to offset the damage of a finance investigation that found no wrongdoing. It also added $18 million to expand the state’s pre-kindergarten program.

Gov. Kay Ivey called for a teacher pay increase in her State of the State speech at the start of the session.

The amended bill returns to the House for a final vote.

The legislature also approved a 3 percent raise for state employees and a one-time bonus for retirees this year.