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Local Lawmakers discuss upcoming session

Staff Report
Alabama Political Reporter

Auburn, Ala. —

Budgets, redrawing district lines and having students use tablet computers instead textbooks are some issues of interest to the Alabama State Senate’s Republican majority whip.

“For the last six years, we have averaged spending $35 million to $40 million for textbooks,” said Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville), District 13. “”Textbooks go outdated real quick.”

Dial said he is considering legislation to provide students will tablet computers, which would allow students to download textbooks among other tasks.

“The bill is called Alabama Ahead, which will give those kids in the ninth grade next year a tablet,” he said. “This way it will take four years to phase it in.”

He said, after studying other similar systems, there were three things that stood out: attendance improves, test scores go up and graduation rates increase.

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Dial said he is proposing a $100 million dollar bond issue, which will be paid back over 15 years at about $9 million a year.

“The bottom line is that we will wind up saving about $12 million a year on purchasing textbooks,” he said.

“I think this will drastically change education in Alabama.”

Dial was among four members of Lee County’s nine-member legislative delegation attending Sunday’s East Alabama League of Women Voters Legislative Forum in the city of Auburn meeting room.

Attending along with the senator were Sen. Tom Whatley, District 27; Rep. Mark Tuggle, District 81; and Rep. Pebblin Warren, District 82.

In his talk, Dial left the upcoming budgets for Whatley to explain.

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