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Alabama Senate Committee Approves Record Education Budget

The Alabama Senate budget committee has approved a record plan for education. The $7.1 billion education budget the committee passed is a 7 percent increase over the current year’s $6.6 billion in spending.

Alabama’s nationally-recognized pre-K program is a big winner, seeing a nearly 30 percent increase in total funding, from $96 million in the current year to $123 million. The pre-K program is something that Governor Kay Ivey is highly committed to. This budget also includes a 4 percent pay raise for K-12 teachers, raising the starting teacher salary to above $40,000 for the first time in state history.

All higher education institutions received at least a 5 percent increase, but some colleges and universities will receive a higher percentage increase than others under the new formula, which considers costs in comparison with similar higher education institutions across the country.

Arthur Orr, the Senate budget chairman, said higher education funding has still not reached pre-recession levels, and believes that is something that we need to move forward on.

The budget gained approval in the committee by a 13-1 vote. The full senate is expected to take up the education budget package from the Advancement and Technology Fund for the current year, on Thursday.

AL.com

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