Today, many believe the future of children's education in Alabama is a little brighter, and they credit Alabama voters for making that possible.
It was a close call for the Houston County school system. They almost didn't make payroll last week because the state only sent them 75 percent of the money. The other 25 percent came from local money.
Tim Pitchford, the Superintendent of Houston County Schools, says, “Now they're telling us we will get that other 25 percent in a week or so, but I fully expect November and December for us again, for the State Department, not to send us our full allocation.”
Administrators are relieved with the passage of amendment one because it will help with finances for now, but there will still be pro-ration, a reduction in the amount of money they receive from the state.
Superintendent Pitchford says, “An email that I received today said that without Amendment One, we were probably looking at around 13 percent pro-ration. With Amendment One, we might still be looking at around seven percent pro-ration. It's not the cure all.”
The passage of amendment one saved the jobs of 32 employees in the school system. Both administrators and teachers say it's tough to meet the higher educational expectations while facing a tough economy.
Matt Swann, Principal of Rehobeth High School, says, “With the accountability of No Child Left Behind we definitely cannot afford to lose any teachers or services and with revenue down in the state of Alabama this will hopefully get us through until we have a little better economic times.”
Randy Meadows, a teacher at the same school, says, “It's a good thing that we will be able to offer the same services to our students and keep our class sizes down, if we have to lay off any teachers our class sizes are already stretched pretty large so to be able to keep that manageable would be good too.”
Houston County schools have a $12 million operating reserve which is three times what the state requires to help them get by.
Governor Riley said without amendment one, he would have had to make cuts in the Alabama reading initiative and other programs that improve public schools.