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Last Updated April 18, 2014
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Democrats in the Alabama legislature were joined
by over 100 teachers, school support personnel and retirees in a rally
held on the front steps of the Alabama State House in Montgomery to
promote public education and a cost-of-living pay increase for current
and retired educators.
State leaders in Montgomery have failed our
educators and our public schools. We started this session with talk
about a pay raise, but this budget actually cuts educators pay by more
than $500 per year.
The House version of the Education Trust
Fund removed a one percent pay bonus that was included in the senate
version. The House version also reduces the amount of funding the state
will pay into educators’ health insurance program (known as
PEEHIP), resulting in education employees being forced to pay an
additional $500 each year for their health insurance benefits.
Janice J. Charlesworth, Executive Secretary
of the Alabama Education Retirees Association, also addressed the
educators who attended the rally, saying, “Our members have gone
almost eight years without a cost of living allowance, while everything
else has gone up. The increased costs associated with the underfunding
of PEEHIP will have a tremendous impact on them financially. Our
retired educators are participating in the Friends of Public Education
Rally to make their voices heard at the State House.”
Myself and other legislators also
questioned the merits of some of the itemized expenditures in the
We found $650,000 for the Department of
Commerce, $2.25 Million for an unnecessary teacher liability insurance
program, and a million dollars to study medical marijuana, but we
can’t find the money to pay for toilet paper and paper towels?
What does that say about our priorities?
The Bible says you put your money where your
heart is. This budget shows our state leaders’ hearts are not
with our public schools or our educators.
House Minority Leader
We don’t know until you experience it
I recently experienced a very painful back
injury. During recuperation, I came to realize many things concerning
gross motor skills, better known as walking.
It was almost in a flash when I felt the
excruciating pain move that I realized I could not walk, hardly at all.
I could not walk to my car, drive my car to go shopping or even just
I could barely manage to do the very necessities
of life through pain medication. Then it came to me so real, not
ostensible, not a maybe, etc, but a realization that this is the way it
is for millions every day who are permanently disabled. Maybe not the
pain, that I do not know. I was shocked and a little sickened at
that realization that I had never given the disabled too much thought,
not really. Sometimes we just can’t see until we experience it
and even then, we know and hope our situation is not permanent.
We wonder at times if maybe many of us may have
become a little too isolated from each other, including myself. We are
a little too busy with our machines and just our little clique at
church and elsewhere.
I heard of a website called “Just Say
Hello.” I typed it into Google and read it. It is very
informative and insightful. I am not trying to, of course, tell anyone
what to do, but I think maybe, as I did, we all might enjoy the read.
I am and was very fortunate to have a few friends
who cared and helped me make it through my back trouble. I am and will
be forever grateful to all of them. You know who you are. Thank you
dear friends.?Thank you.
Nadine Hood Overstreet