Update: Governor Bentley Signs Education Budget, No Teacher Pay Raise Included

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) – Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has signed the FY2015 Education Trust Fund Budget, which means there will be no Special Session for the state legislature and no two percent pay raise for teachers.

Lawmakers left out Gov. Bentley’s pay raise proposal in the education budget they passed last week. Bentley had suggested he would veto a budget that did not include a teacher pay hike, but his attempt to amend it could be an uphill battle. Taxpayers would likely cough up at least $100,000 for a special session.

“I am disappointed that the Legislature decided not to provide a pay raise for our hard working teachers and support personnel,” Governor Robert Bentley said.  “It is clear to me that the Legislature has no intention of passing a pay raise for teachers and support personnel at this time. Therefore, I will not call a Special Session right now.  However, I will keep a close watch on incoming revenues over the next few months, and will consider asking the Legislature to support a mid-year pay raise for teachers and support personnel if the revenues are there to support it.”

Previous reports

Some local educators said the reality of budgetary constraints could mean teachers may have to wait another year for a raise.

“It’s a very tough call for the governor,” said Madison City Schools Superintendent Dee Fowler.

Fowler said there simply isn’t enough money to fund both a raise and the extra health insurance boost teachers did receive to offset new premium hikes caused by the new federal health care law.  He told us teachers he talked to are disappointed, but don’t disagree with the decision to fund PHIP instead.

“They [teachers] have told me that given the choice between the two percent or the fully funded PHIP, they would rather have the fully funded PHIP… that money is not taxed, and that may be more of a pay raise than a two percent pay raise could be.”

Teachers and other education employees did receive a two percent pay bump last year.