Madness In Montgomery

Educators all over the state are scrambling this afternoon (August 4) to head off what they see as a $225 million hit to the Education Trust Fund.  The senate general fund budget committee voted 8-6 today to give a bill moving revenue from use taxes from ETF to the general fund beginning with the new budget year October 1.  Presently there is no plan to replace this money with revenue from another source.

The bill is expected to be voted on by the full Senate tomorrow.

Senators voting for the measure were: Greg Albritton, Clyde Chambliss, Tim Melson, Paul Sanford, Larry Stutts, Jabo Waggoner, Cam Ward and Arthur Orr.

Nay votes were: Billy Beasley, Priscilla Dunn, Bill Holtzclaw, Steve Livingston, Trip Pittman and Bobby Singleton.

Earlier today state superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice sent an alert to educators.  It spread like a California forest fire.  A mother in Shelby County copied Bice’s message from a local Facebook page and passed it along.  Amy Bryan, Butler County school superintendent, sent a spread sheet showing that if this bill is passed it will cost her small system from $720,000 to $900,000.

(An interesting sidebar.  Senator Greg Albritton of Conecuh County was firmly in support of having Governor Bentley appoint Matt Brown to the State Board of Education.  Albritton voted against education in committee today.  Wonder if SBOE member Brown is now trying to get the good senator to change his vote by tomorrow.)

12 Responses to Madness In Montgomery

  1. This is a travesty. Another slap in the face to the children of Alabama And educators. How about the legislators cut their pay?

  2. For what it’s worth, here’s what I sent to my legislators:
    —————–

    When I was on the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education, I supported the
    Legislature’s move to a rolling reserve means of calculating the education
    budget. We were promised this would bring stability to the ETF and limit
    the threat of proration. Now that there is stability in the education
    budget, the Legislature itself is acting to ensure that the school systems
    once again face proration. The present move to take $250 million from the
    ETF to address the General Fund shortfall breaks the promise of stability
    that was made when the rolling reserve was enacted.

    You know better than anyone how much education funding suffered during the
    recession. We *still* are not back to the level of funding systems
    received in 2008. I appreciate the dilemma that you and other legislators
    are in, but solving the problems on the back of Alabama’s children has to
    stop.

  3. Kelly, thanks for visiting. And thanks for taking action on this matter. We are in this pickle because all we ever do is look for band aides. Right now Alabama looks like 10 miles of patched road. Not once have I heard anyone say, hey, why don’t we try and figure out a long-term solution. Bring all the players to the table and hammer out some agreement. Spread the pain or whatever. I’ve been watching politics in this state for 40 years. Never have I seen such a lack of genuine leadership. I keep thinking that at some point we will reach the tipping point and the citizens will say, “That’s enough. It’s time to take our state back. But probably more of my wishful thinking.

  4. Of all the 51-10 years that I spent in education in Alabama, never have I seen such destruction of Education in the Legislature in the past two elections. I don’t know what teachers are thinking–this is the children of public schools that are being treated like trash. All school personnel and parents, wake up and let them know that you are aware of what they are doing and you will not forget.
    Thank God for my Senator Dunn. She voted right…check your Senator and let him know that you Thank him/her for voting. If he voted on the wrong side, let them know. We cannot ignore the destruction to Education that is going on in Montgomery !

  5. I have called Del Marsh numerous times to tell him how I feel about him taking money from our education fund, but he never returns calls and continues to state that he has not heard any teachers that were against using education funds….He does not tell the truth and he is from my district…ughhhhh

  6. All we can do is hold them accountable. Thanks for taking action. Don’t hesitate to let my friends at Anniston Star know what is going on.

  7. This is just the beginning of an effort to destroy public education and state government. This is what the tea party wants.

  8. I say we should NEVER PAY legislators for special sessions. Do teachers get paid for the work they take home to do on their own time … uhh …no! Basic psychology: offering rewards (pay) for negative behavior (not passing a budget during the regular session) will just reinforce (cause it to happen again) that behavior, Think of all the money saved if we cut that ridiculous payment out completely. It’s the only job I can think of where it is financially beneficial for you to not to do your job in a timely manner.

  9. Naomi Klein’s excellent book, “The Shock Doctrine” does a good job of describing the agenda to take advantage of moments of distress in the public sphere (like a Katrina or budget crisis) to move services from the public to the private sphere. This is the agenda in Ala with the lobbying for charter schools.