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Last Updated April 29, 2016
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Letters to the Editor Policy
Education budget win for everyone
If you have a
Letter to the Editor,
please send it to:
P.O. Box 430
Make sure the letter has the
handwritten signature of its author.
Last Wednesday, the Alabama Senate passed a $6.3 billion education budget for
fiscal year 2017, which
starts Oct. 1. It is the strongest and largest budget in years for Alabama’s K-12 schools, community colleges
and universities. The FY17 budget increases education funding over the current year’s budget and is a huge
win for taxpayers, teachers and students.
Since Republicans were elected to a legislative majority in 2010, our focus has
been on solidifying the fiscal
foundation of education. For years before 2010, schools across Alabama would
often have to make budget cuts
in the middle of a school year, a result of overly-optimistic budgets crafted by
Montgomery politicians intent on
gaining favor with voters. These mid-year budget cuts (also known as proration)
were commonplace in
education budgets prior to 2010.
The state of Alabama has avoided proration in the education budget every single
year since 2010. That means
our local school administrators can have confidence that the resources budgeted
for a school term will actually
be there throughout the school year.
We have also concentrated on paying back debt that was amassed before 2010. Now
we have a fully-funded
Rainy Day account available to protect our schools in future years if there is
another financial crash similar to
The education budget for FY17 is the product of that fiscal discipline. Some
choices we had to make a few
years ago were not popular at the time, but now our schools and students are
reaping the rewards of our fiscal
In the FY17 budget, teachers and education personnel will receive a pay raise of
four percent. The key to a
quality education for Alabama’s students is for us to find the best teachers we possibly can and reward their
hard work. This pay raise is essential to attract new teachers and reward our
current educators, and I am glad
our conservative approach to budgeting allowed for this increase.
Another priority of mine also saw an increase in funding – community colleges. These two-year institutions
are so crucial to Alabama’s economic growth because they prepare much of the workforce. Just look at what
positive impact Bevill State Community College has had on our area.
The FY17 budget even fully funds the insurance request for teachers from the
Retirement Systems of
Alabama and PEEHIP, the board that administers health insurance for educators
and education staff.
The education budget includes $16 million over last year for Alabama’s nationally-recognized pre-
kindergarten program and increases dollars available for textbooks.
Many teachers and parents have told me our schools need more funds for classroom
supplies. I have worked
hard over the last several budget cycles to increase these funds. Every teacher
this year will receive an increase
to $405 in classroom supply money. This is money that will directly benefit
students in the classroom.
Our new education budget increases the money for Other Current Expenses, a
catch-all budget category that
provides resources for school building repairs, diesel for buses and equipment
for sports teams.
Teaching is a noble profession. Every person can think back to specific teachers
in elementary, junior high,
or high school who had a dramatic impact on the course of their lives. The FY17
education budget supports
educators by giving them the tools they need.
Education is the foundation of Alabama’s future. There is much work left to be done to improve our schools,
but the FY17 education budget – the largest education budget since 2008 – puts our students and teachers in a
position to succeed.
Rep. Greg Reed
Seeking information on pioneer
I came across an older article from your newspaper about Zachariah White, a
brigadier general, Georgia
Milita, Indian Wars, born Feb. 27, 1794, died Dec. 19, 1866, buried in New
Prospect Cemetery. This is the
second oldest church in Alabama, organized in 1824, and located on Highway 195
I entered Zachariah’s information on the computer, and found there is a book on him, called “Captain White’s
Winston County Mail Guard”.
I don’t live close to this cemetery, but after re-reading the newspaper article, I
became interested as I have
relatives who live close to the cemetery described in the article. I am also always interested in family history
and research. I believe someone near there will read about Zachariah White and respond. My relatives from
that area sent me the newspaper article. They knew it would interest me, and it did. I am always researching
my family histories.