Questions about school funding, state lawmaker expresses concerns
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There’s new push back from some state leaders who say the $70 million allocated to schools from the state is not enough to safely bring children back to school.
Senate Majority Leader Bobby Singleton says as a lawmaker and a father he’s concerned about August.
“With the plan that they have come up with, I think that they are not putting our children in a safe place,” said Sen. Singleton.
Governor Kay Ivey announced this week $70 million was approved to help schools put safety measures in place for in-person learning.
Schools will get at least $70,000 to do things like hire nurses, get equipment for COVID testing, improve nurse offices, create isolation areas, get equipment for temperature screening and bus upgrades. Sen. Singleton says the plan and money request from State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey may only help schools get one - or some - of those health measures.
“It’s not enough. Given what I know in my school district and the problems I know we have,”said Singleton, “We need to hire a nurse. That’s $70,000 with benefits. I have some schools that don’t have running water in the nurse’s station.”
Singleton is a part of a bi-partisan group of senators who originally pushed the state and school leaders for upwards of $150 million for schools. He says that funding would create equitable safety measures across all districts.
Dr. Mackey says schools may have gotten what they’ll get in funding because the state has allocated millions already - with this wellness program and technology improvements - but there’s a chance.
“Will I say there won’t be any more money? There absolutely could be some more money, but I think the lion’s share of the money has been distributed. There’s another package working through Congress and we’re keeping our eyes on that,” said Dr. Mackey.
Sen. Singleton says he plans to continue to appeal to the governor until she says no and hopes to direct any extra money allocated to some of the more rural or inner city schools that may need more, but have less money.
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