Gov. Bentley Approved Education Budget, Does Not Include Teacher Pay Raise


By Catalina Trivino

Governor Robert Bentley has signed the education budget -- but it does not include a two percent pay raise for Alabama teachers that he wanted.  While some teachers are upset, some lawmakers say it was the right decision.  But now the question is... will there be a special session to reconsider the raise?

Governor Bentley says having a special session now wouldn't be the wisest decision -- but he says he's not ruling out calling one for later this year and it would include a dissussion about a pay raise for teachers. Bentley says the money is there to give a raise.

Governor Robert Bentley believes the budget did not pass because legislators adjourned five hours too early on their final meeting day, but he says a  teacher pay raise isn't off the table yet. And a special session isn't either.

"Our economy has improved and all growth money as you know almost all of it goes into the education trust fund so as more people are working and are unemployment rate drops more people working then more money is flowing into our education trust fund. We felt that this was the year we could reverse this trend," Said Governor Bentley.  

But the trend was not reversed.

Senator Dick Brewbaker says Bentley made the right decision. While he believes teachers deserve more money he doesn't see where that money would have come from.

"We wouldn't have been able to repay the Alabama trust fund rainy day rates at the levels we needed to and secondly there's a real chance that we wouldn't have the money to cover it and we go into pro-ration," Said Senator Brewbaker.

But now that the education budget has been signed without the pay raise, the Governor says he'll be meeting with his financial director to look at finances every month to see if it's even possible to call a special session.

Opp middle school teacher, Alicia Kroher, says she's disappointed the Governor signed the budget and  hopes there's enough money to call a special session and  to make the pay raise happen...

"Our salaries are somewhat compatible but we could stand a little more so yes I think he should call a special session give people a chance to reconsider," Said Kroher.

Governor says he liked everything else about the budget except for excluding the pay raise. He says he hopes to have a decision on whether a special session will be called by late summer.

Here is what the education trust fund includes...

-- More than $9,000 per member for PEEHIP (health insurance).
-- An additional $10 million dollars for Pre-K.
-- Another $6 million dollars to expand Dual Enrollment.
-- $7.8 million dollars goes to Career Tech, $1.2 million goes to help career coaches.