Reporter: Eileen Jones
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - When Alabama legislators go back in session on Thursday, they will find out what the Governor plans to push for in the Education and the General Fund budgets.
The Governor doesn't have a lot of high expectations for next year. That's why he's submitting budgets to the legislature for 2010 that are basically the same as this year's budgets with no growth. The Governor explained how it will be done. "It means if we have to use a textbook for one year longer, then I had rather do that than cut the programs that are making such a difference in Alabama."
Those programs the Governor wants to protect are the Reading Initiative, the Math and Science Initiative, Pre-K and Distance Learning. And, there might be a fight brewing because the head of the education budget committee for the House, Rep. Richard Lindsey, (D) Cherokee County, said Tuesday night, when it comes to cuts everything's on the table. "I certainly think those are excellent programs. I can't say that they won't be cut because we're looking at major cuts and I think all facets of education may have to bare a share of the burden." The Governor however says he's disappointed in that thinking. "Just the thought about going out and having to cut back the Alabama Reading Initiative after we have worked for the last five years retraining teachers, 27,000 of them, or coming back now and saying that rural areas and the Black Belt that we're not going to expand distance learning and allow them to have AP courses for the first time in the history of this state, if they want to have that debate then we'll have it."
The Governor is counting on getting some of the money from the federal stimulus package so there won't be a fight in the legislature. The state could get about 3-billion dollars, and we will know in about 2 or 3 weeks.