Statement Regarding the Pending State Education Budget
Several matters concerning the education budget now pending in the Alabama
legislature need to be explained.
is seeking a $46 million supplemental appropriation, which makes up
for a shortfall in this year's (the FY 2004-05) Education Trust Fund
budget. These funds are for retirement and healthcare costs through
Senator Jim Preuitt
is our champion for seeking this appropriation. Higher education was
promised these funds last year, to be provided as soon as monies became
available in the Trust Fund. The Education Trust Fund carried over $300
million into this year's budget, which started October 1, 2004.
Some of our adversaries
are saying higher education is being selfish when we are only asking
for the money which was promised by legislative leaders last year.
Last year, we supported
the needed expenditures in K-12 education, which went for textbooks,
the Reading Initiative, and bus transportation for the public school
systems. Our colleges and universities supported these much-needed programs
at the expense of funds for higher education.
We believe this
one-time funding is fulfillment of the promise made last year, and we
want the public to know that we deeply appreciate the significant increase
that Governor Bob Riley made in the 2006 budget request. This 11%-plus
increase -- improved substantially by the Senate Finance and Taxation
Committee -- made it possible for Jacksonville State University to not
increase tuition for all undergraduates for the next school year.
This matter is not over, as the budgets have not passed the legislature,
but we feel comfortable with our increase.
We are deeply indebted
to Senator Preuitt, who represents Calhoun and Talladega counties, and
to all the other Senators and House Members who are supportive of our
requested supplemental appropriation. We hope things will work out to
higher education's and K-12's satisfaction in the remaining two weeks
of the legislative session.
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