Sen. McClendon’s School Technology & Tablet Bill Passes Alabama Senate

By Jim McClendon

On Tuesday, March 17th, the Alabama Senate passed Senate Bill 1, co-sponsored by Senators Jim McClendon (R-Springville) and Gerald Dial (R-Lineville). SB1 proposes to amend and strengthen the Alabama Ahead Act, which was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley in 2012. SB 1 passed with the Senate with a 24-4 vote, and now goes to the House of Representatives for debate.

“Education is one of my top priorities, and Senate Bill 1 will provide better access to electronic tablets and laptops for our students and teachers,” remarked Senator McClendon. “I’m glad a bill this important got such bi-partisan support.”

The original legislation authorized the State Department of Education to begin buying electronic tablets and laptop computers to replace textbooks in classrooms. However, the 2012 legislation required that the tablets be pen-enabled and the plan would have been funded with a bond issue.

“I thought the 2012 Alabama Ahead Act was a good foundation, but the Act needed some improvements to be accessible by all school systems,” said Senator McClendon. “It’s imperative that the we put quality electronic tablets and laptops in the hands of kids. Our students must have every technological advantage we can give them.”

Given the advancement of touch-screen technologies in tablets and computers, SB 1 proposes to delete the electronic pen requirement in the 2012 Act. SB 1 will also fund the Act through the Education Trust Fund instead of a bond issue.

“Funding classroom technology and electronic textbooks through the budget process is the wise and fiscally appropriate approach,” remarked Sen. McClendon. “You look at the success the Piedmont schools have had with this program, and I’m excited to see it expand across the state.”