You and I know that the future of Alabama is only as strong as our schools are today. Here in Lee, Russell, and Tallapoosa counties, our schools are improving, but we have unique challenges that we must address to provide our future leaders with the best opportunity to succeed. That’s why I keep in constant contact with teachers, parents and administrators to make sure I know what we must do in Montgomery to improve our education system – and when government should just get out of the way.
I’m proud of my work to secure an additional $13 million in education dollars for the nation’s premier Pre-K program here at home. Each year, we have been able to quickly grow this program so that every Alabama family who wants to participate in Pre-K will have the opportunity to do so. This issue will continue to be one of my top priorities.
This year, the Alabama Senate approved a $6.6 billion Education Trust Fund for the fiscal year that begins October 1. We also passed and a 2.5 percent pay raise for teachers and education support personnel. It is the largest education budget since the great recession of 2008. This is a sustainable, fiscally-responsible budget that allows schools to plan for the future.
This historic support is needed, as we all know the solution to our educational challenges isn’t simply to throw money at our problems. That’s why I’ve made sure these budgets are targeted and strictly paced to give our teachers and students what they need without wastefully spending our hard-earned tax dollars.
When our students and schools succeed, our communities are more attractive to new industries, better jobs and higher wages. Taking the time to boost our education system lifts us all. With education being the economic engine of this district — with Auburn University, Troy, Phenix City, Southern Union, Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Central Alabama Community College, and Seven K-12 schools districts — making sure it is at the forefront of our fiscal and policy decisions will be my top priority.
As always, it’s a pleasure to serve you in the Alabama Senate and I look forward to your vote and support in November. Please call me with any concerns that you have. Thank you!