The Alabama Legislature is on some kind of weird and ironic mission to screw most citizens in the Yellowhammer State. Not only they are wanting to cut out so much Medicaid funding that it would render it useless and have the feds come rolling on in to take over. The legislature might also raid the Education Trust Fund and move funds to the General Fund. Before I talk about what would happen, I admire what teachers and school staff have had to go through. Schools in Alabama have already seen major cutbacks in funding! For example, the state’s per-pupil K-12 spending in 2015 was 18 percent lower than in 2008, the second worst decline in the nation. Plus, Alabama’s per-student higher education cuts from 2008 to 2016 are also the nation’s second worst.
So this week, an Alabama Senate committee voted to move $250 million in use tax revenues from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund. Now, something like this will have a harder time getting through the legislature, because several in Montgomery will not vote for this unless there are funds to replace what will be lost in the Education Trust Fund. But can you trust them? I mean, they might just pass this, then Governor Bentley will veto this, the legislature will override the veto, and go home. If this happened and was passed, all schools in Alabama would have to go into proration of 4-5% immediately! Keep in mind, education in Alabama is already woefully underfunded. A cut of this proportion would be devastating to all kids in public schools. A cut like this on top of the cuts already made would be detrimental to schools statewide. And it would fundamentally disrupt plans for education in Alabama. In other words, our legislature would be saying “SCREW YOU” to our schools!
I am glad the state schools have a superintendent like Dr. Tommy Bice. I know him and he probably knows me! He was superintendent of Alexander City Schools while I was a student at Benjamin Russell High School. And I think he has done a wonderful job being the state’s superintendent, in an environment of more harsh politicians and Tea Party Sweet Tea drinkers who are wanting public education to change dramatically where kids are put in schools based on income, kids would learn things that have no business in public schools, and poorer kids would be screwed. Dr. Bice has been going to schools around the state to tell teachers and staff to contact their legislators to not pull monies from the Education Trust Fund to fix the state’s budget woes.
I am also happy to see Dr. Bice is against the No Child Left Behind Act, because it forces kids to lack intellectual curiosity, and too much focus is placed on tests, I agree 100 percent! Dr. Bice also says the state and nation needs to invest in teachers and students to be ready for college, work, or to be a good citizen. Dr. Bice also hates politics, especially when it involves education and schools. But Dr. Bice is encouraging all teachers and school staff to contact the
legislators clowns in Montgomery. There are 96,000 employees in the public school system. And everyone one of them needs to be calling and contacting these bozo’s down on capitol hill. Will the circus freaks listen, or will they listen to the powerful and few special interests, that is up in the air!
One thing is for sure, schools just cannot take much more funding cuts without some dramatic consequences. If you care about simple things like adequate classrooms, school supplies, high school sports, school arts and music, and other school programs that make students better for adult life, than you should care about what could happen if even more money is stolen from education from Alabama. It’s time for the circus act to end!