MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The State Board of Education recommended its first post-recession budget for public schools Thursday and set a goal of hiring back one-third of the teachers cut when the state's tax revenue plunged.
The proposed budget for the next school year also seeks to restore textbook spending and school operational funds that were cut.
After four years of having to reduce spending, the school board got excited about planning a school budget where there will be more to spend. "This is a tremendous piece of work," said board member Charles Elliott of Decatur.
The board proposed that K-12 spending increase from $3.7 billion this year to $4.1 billion next year, a rise of $416 million.
The extra money would hire 459 teachers, or one-third of the 1,377 positions cut, and it would start rolling back the larger class sizes that resulted from the teacher cuts. The proposed budget would also raise school operating funds by $38.6 million, or one-third of the $116 million cut during the recession; increase the money to purchase textbooks from $31 per student to $75 per student; improve funding for school transportation programs; restore some of the arts programs cut in recent years; and start new initiatives.
Alabama's spending on K-12 schools, two-year colleges and universities peaked at $6.7 billion in 2008. It is $5.5 billion for the current year.