Governor Kay Ivey on Monday signed into law a pair of bills SB212 and SB175, which creates the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering and funding the 2019 education budget, respectively.
SB212: Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering
Sponsored by Decatur-Republican State Sen. Arthur Orr and Huntsville-Democrat, House Democratic Leader State Rep. Anthony Daniels, SB212 creates the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering in Huntsville.
The school will be an independent, residential school that is established for academically-motivated and gifted Alabama students with educational opportunities and experiences in the rapidly growing fields of cyber technology and engineering. The school will also assist teachers, administrators, and superintendents across the state in replicating cyber technology and engineering studies in their own schools.
“The Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering will prepare some of our state’s highest-achieving students to enter the growing fields of cyber technology and engineering,”Ivey said. “Just as Huntsville has always been on the leading edge of the rocket and aerospace industries, the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering will ensure that Alabama students are at the forefront of today’s emerging technologies.”
Orr said he envisions students from across the country wanting to relocate and attend the school.
“I see the school as a real magnet for gifted students not only from all over the state, but also from across the country who may want to relocate here to be able to access such a world class, cutting-edge education in the fields of cyber and engineering. The graduates of the school will be long term contributors to this state’s growth in these emerging areas,” explained Orr.
“Today is an important day for Huntsville, our state and, most importantly, our young people. In addition to continuing to grow our reputation as an emerging hub in the tech and cybersecurity industry, this school will provide our students the opportunity to become the next generation of innovators by giving them a jump-start on careers in technology, engineering, and protecting our nation’s cyberinfrastructure,” added Daniels.
The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in coordinating efforts between the Chamber, Cyber Huntsville and the Alabama School of Cyber and Engineering Foundation.
“We are pleased that the vision for an Alabama cyber technology and engineering magnet school has been acted upon by our state leaders,” said Alicia Ryan, Vice President of the Cyber Huntsville Board and President of the Alabama School of Cyber and Engineering Foundation. “This school will provide a wonderful opportunity for students from across Alabama to get early exposure to new STEM-based curriculum that will prepare them for exciting cyber and engineering career paths. By enabling unique educational opportunities today, we are building our workforce for the future.”
A location for the school has yet to be selected. The legislation allows for the school to open and formally begin operation during the fall semester of 2020.
SB175: Education Budget
Ivey also signed the Education Budget on Monday, which was also sponsored by Decatur-Republican State Sen. Arthur Orr along with Tuscaloosa-Republican and Committee chair state Rep. Bill Poole. The 2019 budget provides a historic level of funding for all aspects of the state’s education system. It also includes a 2.5 percent raise for all education employees.
“I am proud to have worked closely with the Legislature to pass a historic Education Budget which gives a raise to our teachers and school employees, increases funding for our voluntary Frist-Class Pre-K Program and provides more opportunities for higher-education students across Alabama,” Ivey commented. “I am committed to improving education in Alabama for everyone, regardless of where they live or the economic resources available to them.”
The Education Trust Fund Budget is the largest investment in education in a decade, and was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
“Alabama’s teachers and education support staff have an important task – educating our children – our children who are the key to our state’s success,” Ivey added. “It is important that we attract the best people possible to work in our education system and this pay raise will help us do that.”
The budget covers the fiscal year 2019 which begins in October.