Alabama educators seek revised amendment to state constitution - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Alabama educators seek revised amendment to state constitution

Source: Alan Collins Source: Alan Collins

The Alabama education community is gearing up for a fight over changes to the state's constitution.

The Alabama Constitution Revision Commission was created to make recommendations to the state legislature for changes and then a final vote of the state voters.

The 1901 Constitution contains language to bar funding for the education of African Americans. The revision commission is charged with removing the racist language.

Birmingham attorney Matt Lembke, a member of the commission, had the panel adopt his amendment which said, "The legislature shall establish, organize and maintain a system of public schools throughout the state for the benefit of children. Nothing in this Section shall create any judicially enforceable right or obligation."

Not everyone likes the amendment.

"The effect of the Lembke amendment means there is no right to to Education in Alabama," Sally Howell, Executive Director of the Alabama School Board Association, said.

Howell and others would like the commission to reconsider the amendment.

"In the twenty-first century do we want to be to my knowledge the only state constitution that doesn't acknowledge a right to education?" Howell said.

Birmingham Rep. Patricia Todd is a member of the commission. Todd said the amendment is motivated by the those who fear it could leave to massive lawsuits demanding more tax dollars for poorer school system.

"The fact is we have some school systems with a lot more money than other school systems. There is an inequity in funding," Todd said.

The commission's recommendations will be sent to the legislature. Already the Alabama Education Association is vowing a big legislative fight if the amendment remains.

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