MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) —The Alabama House passed the Education Trust Fund Budget Wednesday, sending it to the governor for her signature.
“It’s a great budget,” A+ Education Partnership President Mark Dixon said. “There’s a lot of exciting things in here.”
Dixon says he’s glad to see lawmakers put a proposed $8.2 billion, a record-high for the state, toward education.
“From pay raises for teachers that range from 4% at the bottom end to 20% for more veteran teachers, which right now with the teacher shortage across the state, this is absolutely critical,” Dixon said.
In addition to teacher pay raises, the bill includes about $20 million for the Numeracy Act to improve math scores, as well as more funding for auxiliary teachers, pre-K programs and higher education.
“I think we may have had one of the best sessions we’ve ever had for education,” House Education Policy Committee Chair Terri Collins, R- Decatur, said.
Collins said even though the budget is bigger than years past, the spending is needed.
“I think it’s been very conservative in a year when we have a lot of potential one-time money because of all the federal money that came in, but yet what we’ve been able to do with that is put so much more directly in the classroom,” Collins said.
With only two more days left this session and both budgets already passed, lawmakers predict they’ll be done Thursday.
“I think we’ll be done tomorrow. That’s my prediction,” Rep. Chip Brown, R- Hollingers Island, said.
“I’ve heard rumors sometime tomorrow, which would be fine with me,” Rep. Collins said.
The other budget lawmakers passed is the General Fund, another record-high proposal for the state at $2.7 billion. It awaits the governor’s signature.