Gov. Bentley wants pay raise for teachers along with PEEHIP - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Gov. Bentley wants pay raise for teachers along with PEEHIP

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The Governor said he will think over the weekend about whether to veto the education bill, and he said the money is there for the pay raise. The Governor said he will think over the weekend about whether to veto the education bill, and he said the money is there for the pay raise.
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Governor Bentley said he may veto the education bill because it did not include a teacher pay raise. Lawmakers said there wasn't enough money to it.

Some lawmakers said the Governor backed out of a deal with them. They would fully fund the PEEHIP fund, covering teachers' insurance costs, which they did, and the Governor would sign the bill without the two percent raise for education employees. They said there is just not enough money to do both, not while they still need to pay back the Rainy Day Fund, and need to put money into the proration stabilization account. The Governor said he will think over the weekend about whether to veto the education bill, and he said the money is there for the pay raise.

"We have the money not only for the two percent pay raise, but also for fully funding PEEHIP and for doing all the other things that we wanted to do," said Governor Bentley. "We had a very good budget that we presented to the legislature, and we know the money was there, and we know it could be done."

There is another option: the Governor could veto the education bill, not call a special session, and they could go back to the drawing board when the legislature convenes again in August. The problem with that, most contracts with school employees are done in June.

Governor Bentley maintains the economy has improved, and education employees deserve to get the same pay bump for the next school year that they got for the current school year. However, many of his fellow republicans in the legislature said we are not out of the woods yet with the economy, and they need to put money into the proration stabilization fund.

Senator Arthur Orr said frugal spending helped the state avoid proration for three years. He said until the education trust fund is strong enough to prevent the devastating school funding cuts proration brings, that careful spending has to continue.

"We've got to be good stewards with the money people send us, and when we can give raises like we did in the current year, which we gave a two percent raise in this current year because people appreciate the job our teachers and educators and support staff do," said Senator Orr. "But we need to have the funds there to be able to do it."

The Governor said he would make a decision on what to do over the weekend. If he vetoes the education bill, he could call for a special session for lawmakers to pass another version.

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