Senate Republicans Respond to Education Budget Passage, Teacher Pay Raise

By Arthur Orr & Del Marsh & Greg Reed

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama Senate Republican Caucus leadership commented Wednesday on the passage of the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget for fiscal year 2017 (FY17).

Next year’s education budget will have total spending of $6.3 billion, including strategic increases for community colleges, student assessments, and scholarships for veterans. Most importantly, it funds a well-deserved pay increase for teachers and support staff.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston)
“I want to commend Senator Orr’s hard work on passing his first Education Trust Fund (ETF) as chair of the committee. This fiscally-responsible budget is another step in the right direction as we were able to give teachers a raise, provide a bonus to retirees and increase money for textbooks while making sure money is reserved for future use.”

“Alabama is still 46th and 50th in reading and math, respectively, and only 16% of our high school graduates are college ready according to American College Testing (ACT). Education affects every part of this state and I cannot look at these numbers and accept the status quo. I am still committed to reforming our education system until there is noticeable improvement and all children are able to receive a high quality education. I look forward working with those in the education community who share my concerns on new and innovative reforms for next year.”

Finance & Taxation Education Committee Chairman Arthur Orr (R-Decatur)
“If you are going to attract quality people to education, it is imperative that you compensate them accordingly. The legislature understands this and that it’s been nine years since educators have seen a true raise. I’m pleased the support was overwhelming.”

Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper)
“Senate Republicans have made education funding and accountability a key priority. This year’s budget shows our commitment to education and the amazing teachers, support staff, and administrators that make it all work.”

Senator Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills)
“I am so thankful for the individuals that pour their lives into our children. It was the highlight of the day to vote ‘aye’ on giving educators a permanent pay increase.”

Lt. Governor Kay Ivey (R)
“When Republicans took charge of the Senate in 2010, many difficult choices had to be made about the future of our approach to funding education. Now, educators and students are benefiting from the structural changes made over the past five years.”

Finance & Taxation Education Committee Vice-Chairman Rusty Glover (R-Semmes)
“Education is the foundation of economic growth. When we invest in our students and schools, we get a tremendous return. Senate Republicans did just that today.”

Because the Senate made changes to the budget as passed by the House, it is expected the bill will go to a conference committee to work out any minor differences prior to the budget’s final passage.

Led by President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), the Alabama Senate Republican Caucus is comprised of 26 of the 35 state senators. Its members have a wide variety of professional experience and include doctors, teachers, and businessmen. They are committed to serving the public in a way that makes Alabama the best place to own a business, raise a family, make a living, and spend retirement.