Alabama House Ways and Means-Education Committee Approves their Budget

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MONTGOMERY -- The Alabama House Ways and Means-Education Committee had a 10-4 vote on Wednesday. The vote approved the House's education budget proposal.

Under their budget, they plan to put at least 37 million dollars into the PEEHIP fund, or the public education employees health insurance plan.

On the state senate side, their plan would give state education employees a one time $600 bonus. However, they did not address additional funding for PEEHIP.

Educators say the one time pay does not suffice for what they would pay for health coverage.

"The projected PEEHIP cost would be $81.00 a month, or $1,000 a year," Alabama Education Association's Elfriede Marsh said. "That bonus isn't even going to cover the cost of what PEEHIP would cost."

Those working in public education said it is time for state lawmakers to stop cutting public education funding.

"Education is probably the one thing that can help this country and put it back on its feet," Ozark City Schools Superintendent Michael Lenhart said. "I think it's time for the people who are in education, and for the families that have children in public schools, to stand up and say quit cutting education."

After the House passes it's budget, it goes back to the state senate. If the state senators don't agree, it goes back to a bi-chamber conference committee.

The budget is expected to be voted on by the full house next Wednesday

Governor Robert Bentley said if it does not include a 2% pay raise for teachers and more funding for PEEHIP, he plans on sending it back to state legislature.