Alabama Superintendent speaks about education budget - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Alabama Superintendent speaks about education budget

Dr. Bice said he was pleased that lawmakers did increase Pre-K funding by $10-million. Dr. Bice said he was pleased that lawmakers did increase Pre-K funding by $10-million.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

The Alabama Superintendent of Schools spoke out about the education budget. He said he was disappointed there was no teacher pay raise, but that's not the only part of the budget that concerned him.

State Superintendent Tommy Bice said outside of the fact teachers didn't get that two percent pay hike, lawmakers also left out funding for several things that would help teachers and students.

Doctor Bice said the state needs more middle school teachers, but said the budget provides only a slight increase in funding for that and will leave Alabama schools struggling to keep a good teacher to student ratio. He said the education budget offers little to cover rising transportation and operational expenses, and that lawmakers didn't give schools the adequate funding they need to help educators in the classrooms.

"Regretfully, we got zero money for technology, " said Bice. "None for professional development. None for some of the things they really need to increase their productivity as a teacher, but again, we'll sit down today now that it's signed, and we know what we have and work with our 136 school superintendents and their boards and figure out how to best get the job done."

Dr. Bice said he was pleased that lawmakers did increase Pre-K funding by $10-million.

Bice visited Lawrence County High School Friday. The school system is dealing with losing teacher units because of the closing of International Paper. Bice said more teachers are needed in middle schools across the state, but the funding he asked for is not in the bill. He said there is little to no funding to enhance tools for teachers. Bice said teachers want the pay raise, but most would choose classroom supply money over a raise if they had to choose, and in this case, they got neither.

"When I did my budget presentation to the legislature earlier this year, we led with what the needs are," said Bice. "We're not asking for pie in the sky sort of funding for anything just because we think we do. Every single thing we ask for we can substantiate based on the needs of students, and if we could ever get funding based on need, we'd be in a good place in Alabama."

Dr. Bice said now that the budget is signed, school systems will at least know what they have and what they don't have, and can begin planning for the next school year.

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