Governor Bob Riley signs 2010 Education Budget

May 4, 2009

By Chris Vessell bio | email

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Lawmakers have reached a compromise on possibly one of the most difficult education budget's ever to be signed into state law. The budget was passed on Friday, and signed into law today. Governor Riley says he is pleased with much of the 6.2 billion dollar budget he signed into law today.

The 2010 education budget all adds up to a positive result for local teachers. "The latest compromise is probably the best budget we could hope for this year, given the circumstances," said Dr. Stephen Nowlin, Lee County Schools Superintendent. Earlier this year, the State Board of Education feared teacher jobs would have to be cut.

Governor Riley says he hates to speak for local school boards and superintendents, but he doesn't expect layoffs. "These people understand it because they live with it everyday. On the other hand I don't think we will lose a teacher in the State of Alabama" said Governor Bob Riley.

"The good thing is we get to keep the number of teacher units we would have earned if there hadn't been a severe economic downturn," Dr. Stephen Nowlin said. Teachers may not be cut, but Lee County Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Nowlin says the budget lacks adequate funding for textbooks.

"This budget decreases textbooks, from $75 to $17 dollars. Well, you can't buy textbooks with that which means we're going to have to use some local money for that," Dr. Nowlin said. Stimulus dollars are expected to provide some textbook funding. The superintendent is looking at cutting funding for computers and busing routes to make up for a current$700,000 lack of funding for next year's budget. Regardless of the local impact, Riley is proud of the state's progress with the education budget, a budget that has grown by two billion dollars in the past four years.

"If you look at our numbers, there are very few states in the union today, that can match the growth and improvement we've had over the last 3 or 4 years," Governor Riley said.

Aside from the 2010 budget, an enrollment decline of about 200 students in Lee County will cut state funding for at least 12 teacher positions. Teacher units are based on student enrollment so when the enrollment decreases, fewer units are funded.