Governor Bentley pushes harder for teacher pay raise - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Governor Bentley pushes harder for teacher pay raise

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Senator Paul Bussman said teachers deserve the raise, but it's not affordable right now. He added there are negotiations aimed at putting money toward covering the insurance costs. Senator Paul Bussman said teachers deserve the raise, but it's not affordable right now. He added there are negotiations aimed at putting money toward covering the insurance costs.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Governor Bentley didn't back down on a threat he made online. On March 5, Bentley tweeted "If the Legislature doesn't include my 2% pay raise for teachers & full funding for PEEHIP I'll send the budget back w/ an Exec. Amendment." Friday in Decatur, he stood firm on that promise.

Governor Bentley said he will stand with education employees, that the economy is improving, and the money is there to give Alabama teachers that 2% raise and to fully fund their insurance.

The problem the Governor has is that he cannot attach an amendment for a teachers' pay raise to the education budget. Bentley could only do that on a separate bill. That's why he called for an up-or-down vote for the proposed 2% raise. However, a bill to do that is stuck in committee, and may never make it to a vote, which limits what the governor can do.

Lawmakers said the money is not there for teachers to get a raise, and to fully fund the public education employees' health insurance plan. However, Governor Bentley said on Friday they can do it, and teachers deserve it.

"I have shown them a better way, and I have shown them a way they can do that, and we'll believe it can occur," said Governor Bentley. "We'll see what happens over the weekend and in the first part of the week. We've made some progress already. I would like them to vote with me and vote with the teachers. They may not. They may vote against me and vote against the teachers."

A senate bill would give education workers a 1% bonus instead of a 2% pay raise. The governor said that's just not enough. Legislators contended if they gave the pay hide and covered more insurance costs, it would lead to proration.

Senator Paul Bussman said teachers deserve the raise, but it's not affordable right now. He added there are negotiations aimed at putting money toward covering the insurance costs.

"We may have to take the 1% bonus, but if we can increase the PEEHIP amount and not make them pay any more out of pocket, we haven't taken anything out of their paycheck," said Bussman. "And hopefully that will help us get through the next year or two. Once we get through that, the economy will start growing and I think we'll be able to provide those raises as they deserve."

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