MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - State lawmakers have discussed whether to approve a raise for teachers this year.
Teacher pay raises have been one of the biggest asks from the state’s largest teachers union for years. (Pixabay)
“When we get into the session and really start talking about what are the budget capacities, capabilities and priorities, I’m certain a teacher pay raise will be on the table," said Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa.
Poole is the chairman of the House education budget committee. Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, is the chairman of the Senate Education Budget committee. He is expecting a strong education budget in 2021, which he believes could allow for a pay raise.
“I think we should look into it,” he said.
One lawmaker on the budget committee says he’s heard reports of a possible recession.
“And of course we have our challenges in making sure that we can sustain whatever pay raise is potentially given,” said Rep. Rod Scott, D-Fairfield.
Gov. Kay Ivey said Thursday she wants to focus on other education reforms instead of just a teacher pay raise.
“I am all for a pay raise," she said. "But we’ve got some issues that need teachers help with as well, because our scores are just not acceptable. But I’m certainly in favor of a pay raise too. We’ll be looking at that. We haven’t finished our budgets yet.”
WSFA talked with the governor in December about a possible teacher pay raise.
“We are hopeful but when our scores are as low as they are and things are not working like they should, seems to me we need to focus on passing Amendment 1," Ivey said then. "I told that to AEA for sure. Just coming more money. Money year after year and not proposing to make any changes for progress just doesn’t make sense to me.”
The governor and Republican leadership urged the passage of legislation that would allow Alabamians to vote on an amendment whether to remove State Board of Education member elections. Instead, this would become a seat appointed by the governor and then confirmed by the senate.
Gov. Kay Ivey has said this would take the politics out of education. She believes it is one way to help solve Alabama’s poor scores.
Ivey championed a 4 percent teacher pay raise during the 2019 legislative session. State lawmakers gave teachers a 2.5 percent pay raise in 2018.
The legislative session begins Feb. 4.