JSU Newswire
Jacksonville, Alabama

Education Budget - Senate

JACKSONVILLE -- April 25, 2001 -- Today's action on the Education Trust Fund Budget for 2001-2002 shows appreciation for all of education. Since higher education and K-12 are both treated respectably in the 2002 budget, the Partnership applauds Governor Siegelman, Lt. Governor Windom, Speaker Hammett, Representative Lindsey, Senator Sanders and the other leaders who have helped turn a "bad budget for 2002" into a "workable budget for 2002."

Since the budget begins with a 6.2 percent across-the-board cut from the original 2000-2001 budget, it actually contains fewer overall dollars than the previous year. However, it is established based on two principles of fairness. The 2002 budget starts by cutting everyone's 2001 appropriation at the same rate. Plus, it adds money back at a 70 percent (K-12) and 30 percent (higher education) ratio. While the universities would like to see the ratio at one-third (higher education) and two-thirds (K-12), we are willing to move forward with this 2002 compromise.

The Partnership cannot help but wonder why the Siegelman Administration will not help us resolve the 2001 proration crisis is a similar manner. Cut everyone 6.2 percent and then resolve other issues based on that concept. The Partnership encourages the administration to help us achieve that goal. The Siegelman Administration's help would be a tremendous asset to achieving an equitable outcome. The Lieutenant Governor and many legislative leaders are ready to move forward with a 6.2 percent across-the-board plan. Rather than the bad-idea bond issue, the administration could work with other proposals, like the temporary sales tax and the removal of tax exemptions. These would allow for additional money to be generated to help troubled schools both in K-12 and higher education.

Instead of utilizing "goofy" illustrations (as described by The Birmingham News) to attack the universities and arm-twisting university leaders, the administration could work with their colleagues in Montgomery to help solve this problem. Could it be that the Alabama Education Association (AEA) will not allow the Governor to resolve this crisis? The attacks coming from the administration sure sound like those misleading AEA advertisements.

Disproportionate proration will cause long-term damage on every university campus. The only way to avoid this damage is to cut all of education equally. Cut us evenly in proration or treat all of education equally by helping pass the 6.2 percent (across-the-board cut) legislation that is alive in the legislature.

For additional information, contact Gordon Stone at the Higher Education Partnership at 334-832-9911.


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