Alabama Senate approves largest education budget since 2008

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Last week, the Alabama Senate approved by a 29-2 vote a historically strong budget for the Education Trust Fund. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget allocates $6.4 billion to Alabama’s K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities. It is the largest education budget since 2008, and the second largest budget since 1995, the last year for which the Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office had complete figures.

“A quality education system is essential for giving all of Alabama’s students a shot at the American dream, and Senate Republicans are absolutely committed to providing the funding necessary for our schools to become competitive with the best schools in the nation,” said Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), chairman of the Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee.

The FY18 Education budget includes a $15 million increase for First Class, Alabama’s nationally-recognized Pre-K program, along with a $4.4 million increase for transportation, a $1.75 million increase for workforce development, and a $400,000 increase for active shooter response training.

“The conservative majority in the Legislature has been careful stewards of the people’s money, and that fiscal discipline has paid off. Proration – the midyear slashing of school budgets – was a common occurrence prior to 2010, but it hasn’t happened once in the past seven years,” observed Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper).

Last year, the Legislature approved a 4 percent pay raise for most educators. The Senate’s FY18 ETF budget maintains a commitment to last year’s raise.

“This budget shows a strong commitment to public education in Alabama,” said Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston). “A strong education system provides opportunities for students of all backgrounds and empowers students who work hard to succeed in life. The Senate’s budget gives our teachers and administrators the tools they need to positively shape the lives of students across our state.”

The FY18 Education budget now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.