Senate panel begins process of funding AL schools

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Legislature has begun the process of funding schools and colleges in a recession as a Senate committee approved a $5.6 billion education budget.

That budget for the 2009-2010 school year is more than $1 billion less than the state spent on education two years ago.

As written the budget would mean more than 1,100 fewer teaching jobs and 4,000 fewer support workers.

But senators said once federal stimulus money is included most teacher positions will be saved though schools superintendent Joe Morton said it might be difficult to save all support positions.

Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee chairman Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma said the budget approved Wednesday will undergo numerous changes before the spending plan receives final approval.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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