Alabama educators prep to start 2009 in deficit

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama education officials say the state's school systems will likely enter the 2009 fiscal year that begins in two weeks already in the red.

State legislators passed a reduced budget in May, cutting it to $6.36 billion in Fiscal Year 2009, down from the current $6.73 billion.

Losing $370 million means a 3 percent cut for K-12 schools, an 8 percent cut for two-year colleges, and an 11 percent cut for universities.

Officials had hoped to have $64 million left over from the current year, but all of that money was spent to finish out fiscal year 2008.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)