Senate Passes Education Budget

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

In less than 30 minutes, a 30-zero vote was made for this year’s education budget on the Senate floor.

Senator Hank Sanders, (D) Selma said, “Not only did the budget pass, but all of the related bills, which I guess was about 10 of them ended up passing in 20 minutes. That's a record; I have to feel good about that."

Senator Sanders is the chairman of the Education Budget Committee.

He says the passing of the budget is good news in a bad economy.

"When things are really bad, people can either turn on each other or they can turn to each other. I think members of the committee and members of the Senate actually turn to each other and tried to work together to make a bad situation as good as possible.”

Even with proration and sales tax figures down, some senators say special projects will have the chance to stay alive in with the budget.

However, Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins with Troy University says the budget isn't helping higher education.

"What I think did happen is we saw it just a bit more transferred to K-12, so higher education took on a little more of a hit in education generally. It’s just a reflection of the times; we'll tighten our belt and get through it like we always have,” Dr. Hawkins explained.

While Senator Smith and Senator Sanders are happy about Thursday’s outcome, they say they still have a long road ahead of them.

“This great recession has reduced the education fund by a billion and a half dollars; that's a lot of money in a state like Alabama. So we are hurting; I think we need to find a way to address that,” Senator Sanders concluded.

The 5.5 billion dollar budget will help keep all state employed teachers along with saving the Alabama Reading Initiative.

Since the Senate made a change in the House version of the budget, the budget will go back to the House for final passage.

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