With only a few days left of regular session and no solution in sight for the General Fund Budget, Gov. Robert Bentley signed the nearly $6 billion state Education Trust Fund Budget on Tuesday morning.
“The FY2016 Education Budget is a significant accomplishment and supports many important programs and initiatives that prepare students for success,” Bentley said. “The best investment we can make as a state is to invest in our students and their education. I appreciate the legislators prioritizing many initiatives and programs that support education in Alabama.”
The governor’s office highlights several increases included in the FY2016 Education Trust Fund Budget:
- $13 million increase for textbooks;
- $3 million increase for classroom materials;
- $5.2 million increase for Dual Enrollment Programs; and
- $4.5 million increase for transportation operations.
It’s been a good year for education in the state. Both Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh highlighted the success of legislative proposals aimed at education including one addressing expanding school choice in radio interviews last week.
Last Tuesday the governor announced an expansion of a great program for VPK students. Alabama’s system was recently called one of the nation’s best and the Governor has made it a priority to keep it that way.
“The most important part of a child’s education is a solid foundation at an early age, and our First Class voluntary pre-k program provides just that,” Bentley said. “All children, regardless of where they live, deserve the opportunity to excel. A high-quality, voluntary pre-k program improves their chances of success in school long-term. This is a wise investment that will benefit children and families throughout Alabama for years to come.”
This year has seen a lot of struggle over the budget process as the state deals with mounting costs that exceed revenue. Among the solutions offered up was Senate Bill 12 sponsored by Senator Paul Sanford, which would have combined the states two budgets into one. The bill died in committee.