Gov. Ivey: Alabama needs appointed state school board

Gov. Ivey: Alabama needs appointed state school board

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Gov. Kay Ivey is calling for a bold change in the state’s education leadership- doing away with an elected state board.

She says the current system just isn’t working. It was one of the big topics she addressed in Huntsville on Wednesday during her annual Alabama update at the Von Braun Center. Local business and civic leaders attended, a crowd of more than 800 people.

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber hosted the luncheon.

"Alabama is strong and we have many reasons to celebrate," Ivey said. "During my tenure we have created more than 34,000 new and future jobs. We're continuing to show that Alabama is not only open for business, but we're competitive and thriving and we're a state of opportunity."

Ivey says every county in the state dropped their unemployment rate.

She touched on two bills that have ramifications to improve Alabama's broadband infrastructure. There are 840,000 Alabamians without access, according to the governor.

She also talked about infrastructure improvement funding, translating to projects that will tackle roadway congestion, aging roads and bridges and unsafe conditions for drivers.

"As a result of the Rebuilding Alabama plan was the widening of 565 which will eventually allow for the expansion of the I-65 interchange. Projects like this will provide access for industry groundbreakings as well as keep traffic flowing," Ivey stated.

She talked about the dangerous conditions of prisons and the multi-step process to address the problems.

The first step is recruiting and retaining correctional officers.

"HB468 signed into law which provides a two step pay raise for Department of Corrections employees and expanded an incentive program to include bonuses for additional training," Ivey added.

She says Alabama will continue to work with the legislature to find solutions to prison issues.

"This is an Alabama problem and it must have an Alabama solution," Ivey said.

On the education front, the legislature approved $26.8 million for pre-K, adding 200 classrooms.

All K-12 Alabama schools must now offer computer science by the 2022-23 school year.

The Department of Education will create certification pathways for computer science teachers and require hiring of computer science specialists.

"We've made create strides in improving our education but we must continue this momentum," Ivey told the crowd. "Unfortunately, Alabama is at the bottom of all of the rankings that measure education in our states. Too many of our third graders cannot read. Too many of our high school graduates are not prepared for a career or for college."

She says that's not the fault of teachers or superintendents. It starts at the top

Alabama is one of only six states in the country with an elected school board. Florida and Virginia, who rank high in education, have appointed boards.

Ivey wants to see the creation of an Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education, replacing the elected state board.

"Members of the commission would be appointed by the governor to a six year term, removing them from the whims of the political cycle," Ivey added. "We desperately need to have this bold change in leadership. It's time for creativity, accountability, stability. It's time to take the lead, Alabama."

Alabama voters will have a chance to weigh in on the constitutional amendment in March 2020.

Her plan well received by educators in the crowd.

(sot Matt Massey, Cyber School president) The governor's focus is so comprehensive, from the early start, investing in pre-K and a strong finish in having our high school graduates prepared for college and to enter the workforce with skills.

Governor Ivey says Alabama is one of only six states in the country with an elected school board.

Other states leading in education have appointed board.

Matt Massey, president of the new Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering, applauded Ivey's plan, saying: "The governor's focus is so comprehensive, from the early start, investing in pre-K and a strong finish in having our high school graduates prepared for college and to enter the workforce with skills. The new Cyber School of Technology and Engineering is a piece of that and it's exciting to get an opportunity to lead that effort."

Alabama voters will have a chance to weigh in on the constitutional amendment in March 2020.

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