Senate Committee Approves $32 Million for Enterprise Schools

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A state Senate committee Wednesday approved a 32 million dollar state appropriation to rebuilt two tornado-ravaged schools in Enterprise.

The chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee, Hank Sanders, says it's the largest appropriation ever from the state to rebuild schools struck by a natural disaster.

But parents and officials from Enterprise expressed concerns. Denine Richey, who has three children in Enterprise schools, says she's grateful for any state help, but she's worried it won't be enough because Enterprise officials aren't sure yet how much they will get in insurance and federal disaster payments.

The appropriation approved by the Senate committee is dramatically different from the one passed a week ago by the House of Representatives.

That bill -- which was backed by education officials in Enterprise and at the state Department of Education -- would have provided up to 79 million dollars in state funds.

But Enterprise would have had to turn over to the state any money it gets from insurance and FEMA. The Senate committee's bill allows Enterprise to keep any insurance and FEMA money.

The Senate committee's bill now goes to the Senate, where it could come up for consideration as early as next week.

Enterprise High School and Hillcrest Elementary School were hit by a tornado on March first. Eight students were killed in the high school.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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