Adversaries Unite on Education Funding - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

December 4, 2001 10:30 p.m.

Adversaries Unite on Education Funding

The governor's speech is being applauded by education insiders who say schools can't suffer another year of proration. In the "Education Report" Michael Briddell shows us how two former adversaries are uniting for a single cause.

Both Sandra Sims-deGraffenried and Gordon Stone like what they're hearing from the governor.

"It's a bold political move and he's got a political plan. You have to give him credit, he's got a plan that will raise the amount of money we need for us not to get in a deeper hole in public education and thereby do more damage to our school children," says deGraffenried, of the Alabama Association of School Boards.

Gordon Stone of the Higher Education Partnership agrees, "We applaud the governor for bringing this to the table, for doing what he is doing to make sure this issue is addressed. At the same time we want to ask all of these folks in the process to help us find solutions."

Earlier this year, these two battled in court over how proration should affect K-through 12 schools and colleges and universities. Now that they've come together, they're hoping others can as well.

"If universities and K through 12 and all of those entities can pull together, we're confident that democrats and republicans, house members, lieutenant governor, governor and everybody else can pull together. There's nothing more important to the future of this state and the quality of life to our citizens," says Stone.

And both agree failing to avoid education cuts could be disastrous for the state. "It's going to mean as we're hearing from everywhere, programs cut for children, music programs given up, different things sacrificed in order for us to make due and get by. That's shortchanging our children, that's shortchanging our future. We can either pay now or our children are going to pay later," says deGraffenried.

While both higher education and K through 12 supporters say it's crucial to avoid proration this year, they feel the state ultimately needs a new way of paying for education, that's more reliable than sales and income taxes.

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