The Alabama House approved a $5.9 billion budget in a 51-47 vote Tuesday.
Republicans say the budget puts more money toward insurance and benefits for teachers.
"I think it was the best bang for the dollar because that is before taxes because if you give a raise in that amount they have to pay taxes on that and then their insurance goes up," said AL. Representative Paul Lee.
Democrats argue the money should have been used for a salary increase for teachers.
"We need to make noise and make the current leadership know that we are asking some of the teachers to receive some relief. For the last several years we have been losing money and in my opinion teachers are the most important profession and we should encourage people to go into the teaching field," said AL. Representative Dexter Grimsley.
Representative lee says this budget will help hire more teachers.
"This budget increases monies to hire about 450 more teachers in the state and the middle school area and that is a vulnerable time. That's when we are losing students. That's when they are dropping out, and what we are trying to make sure is that there are less students in those classes." said Representative Lee.
Since the house and senate passed different versions of the education budget, it now goes to a committee.
That committee will consist of three members of each chamber.
Once they reach a compromise, the budget will go to Governor Robert Bentley.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The House of Representatives narrowly approved an education budget that divided lawmakers over the lack of a teacher pay raise.
Representatives approved the $5.9 billion budget in a 51-47 vote Tuesday.
Tuscaloosa Republican Rep. Bill Poole says the plan puts more money toward insurance. He says that should help avoid large premium increases for current and retired education employees.
Poole argued that was the best use of limited funds. Democrats contended teachers deserve a raise after going several years without one.
Senate budget chairman Trip Pittman says the budget will likely go to a conference committee.
More than 100 retired education employees rallied outside the Statehouse ahead of the vote. Alabama Education Association Executive Secretary Henry Mabry told the group that they will make their voices heard in upcoming elections.