MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Education is asking lawmakers for a billion-dollar increase in funding to the Education Trust Fund budget for fiscal year 2024.
This comes after a record-high education budget passed during the last session, totaling $8.3 billion.
“We are asking for about $984 million in new money,” State Superintendent Eric Mackey said.
Mackey presented to a panel of lawmakers Thursday morning. He says federal COVID relief money for schools will soon dry up and the state should prepare to fill those gaps.
“Give us more teachers, give us more counselors, give us more assistant principals,” Mackey said. “So we’re already taking that message to the legislature that we need to begin to fund with state funds these positions that’ll go away with federal funds.”
Mackey says the increase has teacher hiring and training at the forefront. The budget would also account for expenses like new tires on school buses and enhanced school safety measures.
It could also include teacher pay raises.
“We’ll see what the Governor recommends, but I would expect there would be modest teacher raises this year if there are teacher raises,” House ETF Budget Chairman Danny Garrett said.
Garrett says he doesn’t immediately have a response to the budget requests and will have to take a closer look.
“I’m a numbers guy, so I look at budgets. I like to see what did you give me last year, what did you give me this year. I need to go back and do the comparisons and analyze the breakdowns so I really have no reaction at this point because I haven’t really analyzed it,” Garrett said.
While lawmakers consider these proposals, Gov. Kay Ivey will make her own budget requests to the legislature as well.