State school board to seek increase in budget

Published 7:48 am Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MONTGOMERY — Alabama education leaders are seeking budget increases despite forecasts of a smaller state education budget next year.

State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton says the State Board of Education will ask legislators for about a $350 million increase Tuesday. He says education leaders know there are going to be cuts next year, but they want to emphasize the needs in public schools.

The Legislature is holding budget hearings this week in anticipation of its regular session starting on Feb. 3.

The director of the Legislative Fiscal Office, Joyce Bigbee, told legislators Monday that this year’s nearly $6.4 billion education budget will have to be cut $360 million due to declining tax revenue. She said next year’s budget will have to be $341 million smaller than this year’s trimmed-back budget.

That means it would total $5.7 billion.