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Alabama House Committee approves education budget • Alabama Reflector

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An Alabama House committee Tuesday approved a $9 billion education budget with a 2% pay increase for education employees.

The approval of the bills is the first official step for the Education Trust Fund for 2024-25. 

The bills passed Tuesday with little discussion. Chair Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, had previously gone through some of the changes from the Governor’s Budget last week

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“We put a lot of additional money into public education that targets areas of critical need,” Garrett said after the meeting.

The 2% pay raise is an unchanged bill from the Governor’s recommendation for the budget.

The House Ways and Means Education substitute includes a year over year increase of around $110 million for colleges and universities, from around $1.55 billion to $1.66 billion (7.1%); a K-12 Foundation program increase of roughly $196 million, from around $4.49 billion to $4.68 billion (4.3%); a $36 million increase for the Alabama Community College System, from around $551 million to around $587 million (6.5%) and an increase to the State Department of Education of around $147 million from around $535 million to around $682 million, a 27% increase.

Most of the department’s increase will go to specific programs such as English Language Learning and different subject programming, including the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) and the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI). Funding for AMSTI would increase by $31 million, from around $73 million to around $104 million, a 42% increase. The ARI would have an increase of around $49 million from around $94 million to around $143 million, a 52% increase.

Textbooks or digital resources would be allocated at $100 per pupil based on average daily membership during the first 20 instructional days after Labor Day of the previous school year.

Garrett said after the committee meeting that this year’s budget was a move towards allocating money based on need rather than headcount.

“I think it’s a good budget that moves us in the direction of maybe changing our funding formula so we can address some of these specific needs,” he said.

Garrett said that they were trying to move towards a system that would give districts more autonomy in spending money.

“We basically divide everything by headcount, regardless of needs,” he said. “So now that we have to look at a little more granularly how we disperse the money, but then also that will give systems more autonomy in how they internally disperse the money.”



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