To: Alabama House Republican Caucus Members
From: Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter
Date: April 30, 2021
EDUCATION TRUST FUND BUDGET
For the third consecutive year, the Alabama House on Tuesday approved a record Education Trust Fund budget, which, at $7.6 billion, provides targeted funding increases in various areas of emphasis.
Spending in the budget for K-12 public schools, community colleges, and four-year public universities rose by about 6%, or $452 million overall.
The state’s Department of Early Childhood Education received a $29 million increase while the Alabama Department of Education saw its total funding balloon by roughly $56 million.
Alabama’s award-winning “First Class” pre-kindergarten program, which is considered by many to be a national model, received an increase of almost 20%, which translates to $24 million.
The Alabama Community College System saw its appropriation grow by 10% while four-year universities received a 6% boost.
The popular career tech program, which allows high school students to receive workforce job training while still in school, grew by almost $11 million.
The Advancement and Technology Fund, which can be used for specific items like technology upgrades, school security improvements, and debt reduction, increased by more than $280 million when K-12 and higher ed are combined.
K-12 public school teachers and community college employees will receive a 2% cost-of-living pay raise under legislation that was approved by the House, and another measure will provide middle school and high school math and science teachers as much as $10,000 to $15,000 in additional salary if they meet certain certification metrics and commit to specific employment requirements.
Those who accept assignments in hard-to-staff schools would be eligible for incentive pay, as well.
After the Senate concurred with slight House modifications, the Fiscal Year 2022 Education Trust Fund budget was sent to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk for consideration and signature.
It is important to note that much of the recent success and improvement in education funding is a direct result of conservative budgeting practices and other reforms put in place when Republicans captured control of the Legislature in 2010 following 136 years of Democrat rule.
While other states are currently struggling to meet obligations as a result of COVID-19, Alabama’s conservative budgeting in the current fiscal year and the impressive rebound of our economy have spared us similar financial pains.
The Republican-passed Proration Prevention Act, often known as prior-year budgeting, has also allowed Alabama to avoid the painful and disruptive mid-year education spending cuts known as proration.
Under Democrat rule, proration was declared on an average of every other year, but since Republicans took control in 2010, the Education Trust Fund has never been prorated.