MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - State lawmakers passed the $7.2 billion Education Trust Fund budget Saturday afternoon. The budget is on its way to the governor’s desk for her signature.
Senator Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said this budget is the largest in the state’s history. However, it is not at the level lawmakers had hoped for due to COVID-19.
“It certainly was not what we had envisioned back in January and February,” Orr said.
Originally, Orr had anticipated a $400 million increase for fiscal year 2021. Now, that is down to a $90 million.
“We still will make this a record-breaking budget,” he said.
The budget includes $4 million more toward Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program.
More than $1 million went toward a child abuse and neglect program. Orr said it was important to provide local programs with this money during the COVID-19 pandemic when many children are at home.
Higher education also saw a 2 percent increase. Other increases went toward prison education, supplies for school nurses, and for regional mental health services.
“Our state, I can promise you, is in much better shape than other states,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh.
Teacher pay raises were proposed earlier this year. However, those were taken off the table.