MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has signed the General Fund Budget approved by both houses of the State Legislature Wednesday night which transfers $80 million dollars from the Education Trust Fund to pay the operational expenses of state government.

Lawmakers also approved a change to the Rolling Reserve Act to make emergency reserve funds more readily available for education in Alabama.

A number of state lawmakers told WIAT 42 News that the transfer will not hurt education and that the lower reserve threshold will benefit schools.

There are also a number of state legislators and citizens who criticize the plan as just the latest in a string of decisions that diverted money away from education.

State lawmakers faced very tough decisions regarding which state agencies and departments to cut, and by how much. There may be no easy solution, but the state level decision to move the $80 million has definitely caught the attention of educators at the local level.

Hoover Board of Education President, Derrick Murphy, is calling on his counterparts in more than a dozen other local school districts to work together to protect funding for education.

Murphy is organizing a rally to protect the Education Trust Fund at Vulcan Park in Birmingham on Saturday morning.

“There’s not a school system around that I can think of that has not had a decrease of state funding. You’re going to have state funding decreasing happen x number of years. We’re fortunate in a way that we have local dollars to kind of make-up that, but you can only do that for so long. You don’t want to consistently go into your reserve to make up for money. We’ve got to make sure that we’re not only making sure that the ETF is protected, but also make sure that we can talk about ways to generate more money to go to education because again revenue is decreasing every single year,” said Murphy.

According to Murphy, a group of Central Alabama school board leaders will gather on Saturday September 19, 2015 at 7:30 a.m. to support education funding at Vulcan Park and Museum (1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham, AL).

“We’re coming together as leaders to say look, this is not adversarial, we want to be at the table especially come next year during the general session, to talk about this issue.  I think we can come up with something to make sure that education is always protected, “ said Murphy.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News