Christie Finley touts good news at Huntsville State of the Schools address

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - They have more money in the bank, more of their teachers are sticking around, and they improved their state report card score.

That's just some of the good news Huntsville schools superintendent Christie Finley was sharing with teachers and parents on Tuesday night.

"As I always say, students don't care what you know unless they know that you care," Finley told teachers during the address.

Finley had some good news to tout. A 7 point bump moved Huntsville City Schools up from a 'C' to a 'B' on the state report card and thanks to their recently passed budget, the district met its required reserve fund.

"We've increased our cash on hand by $17.2 million," Finley said.

"If you look back a year ago, we were in financial straits. So we're proud to celebrate tonight we have 1.3 months in reserve," said Huntsville City Schools community relations director Rena Anderson.

Good for the accounting and good for the teachers, who all received a four percent raise. Finley says teacher retention increased to 85 percent, meaning more educators are staying put.

"Teachers are our boots on the ground," Finley said. "The single most important factor in a child's life is a highly effective teacher."

Near the end of the presentation, teachers were urged to flip on the lights and spread the word for the upcoming school tax ballot initiative on December 10.

Huntsville City Schools leaders say they're also planning to build a new Futures Academy next to the Space and Rocket Center, where kids could help with hosting large events.

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