Another pay raise maybe in store for those who educate Alabama's children. This would be added on to the 6 % pay increase the legislature approved last year.
And, if you think you have seen fights in the legislature in the past when there wasn't enough money to go around, House Speaker Seth Hammett says just wait until you see what happens when they're not in that predicament. "We have more problems trying to find agreements....when we have money than when we don't."
The legislature is about to experience a windfall. When it goes into session on Tuesday a billion dollars of new money is expected to be in the education budget and everybody has a different idea how to spend it. Rep. Jay love/(R) Montgomery says "I think we should give some of the money back to the tax payers." Bradley Byrne/(R) Mobile says "I feel comfortable with taking the surplus and spending it on capital needs - one time capital needs for school systems."
And that's what the Governor wants to do - use about half of the billion dollars to make improvements to school buildings across the state. Others, like Hammett, want to use the money to increase the rainy day account. "We should save some of the surplus. I think that's what we should begin as a priority."
And Republicans and Democrats say they will support another pay raise for teachers which will be in addition to the 6% increase they approved last year. The head of the Alabama Education Association Paul Hubbert says "Over a four year period we've had one 6% raise. That's a 1 1/2%per year for that four year period. So, yes there is a raise due. Teachers need it. We've got empty classrooms now because Georgia and other states are paying more than we're paying."