Tuesday, April 28, 2009

House Takes Up Education Budget

The House began debate of the Education Budget this afternoon. The Senate had already passed their version of the Education Budget during session last week.

Representative Richard Lindsey presented an overview of the budget emphasizing that the focus of this budget was to save jobs.

He said, referring to the House membership, “You wanted to save as many jobs as you could, and we have done that with this budget.”

He also informed the House that they were able to save such programs such as the Alabama Reading Initiative, AMSTI, Distance Learning, and Pre-K. They may have to face budget cuts, but according to Dr. Joe Morton, they will be able to operate effectively under this budget.

Rep. Lindsey said, “We can be proud of this budget given the current economic circumstances we face.”

While federal limitations on stimulus dollars were strict, Rep. Lindsey further elaborated that they were able to work out a plan. He said that having these additional dollars makes this budget more "palatable" as lawmakers attempt to administer these dollars.

The fiscal stabilization ratio between higher education and K-12 was ordered by federal government. K-12 will receive 71.64% of the stimulus money allocated for education and Higher Ed will receive the remaining 28.36%.

The Examiners of Public Accounts was given an additional $800,000 in order to audit the additional reports required by federal government in relation to the economic stimulus money.

50% of the stimulus money will be used in the 2010 budget, and the remaining 50% will be used for the 2011 budget. The only exception to this are Title 1 funds which will be used entirely for the 2010 budget. According to Rep. Lindsey, Title 1 funds primarily go to elementary schools and there is no flexibility for that at the state level.

We will continue to post on the education budget as the House continues debate this afternoon.

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