State education leaders want more money for classrooms

State education leaders discuss funding for teachers

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -Teachers juggle a lot during the day including lesson planning and instructing students, and many times they buy their own school supplies as well.

Ninety-four percent of teachers spend money on classroom supplies according to a federal Department of Education Survey.

However, Alabama State Board of Education members want to put more money toward classroom supplies to relieve some of this pressure.

“So if they were buying beakers for their science classrooms, if they were buying colored paper, all those kinds of things that teachers need, either they had to get those from parents, they had to dig into their own pockets, which teachers did both of those things, or they had to do without,” said Dr. Eric Mackey, the state superintendent.

The board approved budget recommendations Thursday morning. It asked lawmakers for $600 per teacher. Currently the state provides $536 per teacher.

“What we’ve asked for is for the legislature to put the emphasis on the classroom,” Mackey said. “Send money to the classrooms.”

The board asked for an additional $11.2 million for technology, professional development, library enhancement and textbooks.

“And so what we’re saying now is we want to catch back up to where we were and we want to fund our classrooms to the highest level," he said.

Other budget proposal top priorities include money for pre-school special education and school safety.

“It’ll be money that schools can spend to secure their campuses, hire SROs (school resource officers), the things that they feel like they need around the state," he said.

Mackey said he believes lawmakers will support much of the budget proposal. The budget recommendations will now go to the governor’s office, and then to the legislature.

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