Alabama House passes schools budget with 2.5 percent pay raise

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. ( — A budget that would allocate more money to schools than any since the Great Recession advanced without an opposing vote Thursday night in the Alabama Legislature, although Democrats argued for a larger raise for teachers.

The House of Representatives passed the 2019 education budget by a vote of 102-0, sending it to the Senate.

The budget calls for spending $6.6 billion from the Education Trust Fund, $216 million more than this year and the most since $6.7 billion in 2008. Spending fell by more than $1 billion annually after 2008 because of the recession.

The budget would fund a 2.5 percent cost of living raise for education employees, including support personnel, in K-12 and in two-year colleges.

Spending on the K-12 Foundation Program would increase by $115 million, about 3 percent. Community colleges would get an increase of $16 million, about 4 percent. Universities would get an increase of $37 million, about 3 percent.

The budget would increase funding for Alabama's prekindergarten program by $20 million, to $97 million. That would fund an additional 142 classrooms serving about 2,556 students.

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