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Governor to sign record education budget


Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement Thursday announcing that she intends to sign the state education trust fund budget. Ivey also announced that she was signing the state general fund budget and amending SB161, the FY 2020 General Fund supplemental appropriations bill that would appropriate federal CARES Act funds.

“This afternoon, I sent a letter to each member of the Legislature to inform them I intend to sign both the FY 2021 General Fund Budget and the FY 2021 Education Trust Fund Budget,” Ivey said. “Additionally, I will be proposing an Executive Amendment to SB161 to ensure that the CARES Act money is immediately put to use for the purposes Congress and President Trump intended.”

The 2021 ETF budget is $7,204,431,488, a $91,322,235 increase from fiscal year 2020.

Highlights from the education budget include:

  • $428,117,466 for the state Community College System, a $11,186,224 increase over the 2020 budget.
  • $33,377,327 for debt service, a $1,655,388 decrease from 2020.
  • $132,215,130 for the Department of Early Childhood Education a $4,950,000 increase.
  • ADECA is level funded at $26,000,000.
  • Local boards of education will receive $4,413,755,710 a $16,397,711 increase.
  • $15,865,414 for the Alabama Legislature, a $3,394,004,422 decrease.
  • $67,504,452 for the Alabama Department of Commerce, a $3,176,306 increase.
  • $301,608,084 for the State Department of Education, a $49,885,000 increase.
  • The Alabama School of Fine Arts received $2,217,038, a $175,000 increase.
  • The State Executive Commission on Community Services Grants received $9,031,798, a $5,000,000 increase.
  • $16,826,167 for the Alabama Department of Public Health, a $275,000 increase.
  • $39,390,021 for the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, a $1,230,000 increase.
  • The Alabama Historical Commission received $2,217,038, an increase of $175,000.
  • The Department of Human Resources are level funded at $31,424,165.
  • The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is level funded at $580,242.
  • The Alabama Public Library Service received $12,978,941, a $98,750 increase.
  • The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is level funded at $5,203,025.
  • The Alabama School of Math and Science received $8,847,417, a $200,000 increase.
  • The Board of Medical Scholarships received $2,440,014, a $1,000,000 increase.
  • The Alabama Department of Mental Health received $58,015,882, a $1,150,00 increase.
  • The Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission was level funded at $1,252,274.
  • The Alabama Commission on Physical Fitness was level funded at $1,880,328, an increase of $110,000.
  • The Alabama Department of Rehabilitative Services received $48,726,518, a $250,000 increase.
  • The Alabama Supercomputer Authority was level funded at $13,400,011.
  • The Department of Veteran Affairs was level funded at $82,584,496.
  • The Department of Youth Services was level funded at $57,154,071.
  • Alabama’s public colleges and universities all received an increase in state funding totaling $1,241,533,573, an increase of $37,623,754.
  • The Alabama Innovation Fund was level funded at $3,420,13.
  • The Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind received $60,170,366, a $1,000,000 increase.

The state has continued to make payments on the PACT program settlement; but these are starting to run down The PACT settlement has two line items in the budget: one for $17,534,880, a $15,871,185 decrease, and $14,346,720, a $12,985,515 decrease.

There are three separate appropriations bills for private schools and colleges that get a state appropriation. Lyman Ward Military Institute received $367,290, a $10,000 increase. Talladega College received $947,147, a $20,000 increase. Tuskegee University received $11,676,562, a $175,000 increase.

The combined education spending for 2021 was $7,217,422,487, which is a $91,527,235 increase from 2020.

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The education trust fund and state general fund budgets are both the largest in state history; but are substantially less than what the Governor had anticipated when the 2020 regular legislative session began.

Because of expected declines in revenues due to the coronavirus crisis; plans to give state employees and education employees raises were scrapped for the 2021 fiscal year that begins. Also gone were plans to give education or state retirees a one time bonus.

Alabama has an arcane budgeting system where most of the money is earmarked and the money goes into two separate budgets. The ETF is for education and the SGF for non-education state spending. Some state agencies have an appropriation in both budgets. There are also billions of dollars that are outside of the two budgets. The state takes in roughly $14.5 billion and then an estimated $7 billion in federal dollars. This year the state has received just over $1.9 billion in one time CARES Act funding. On Friday, the House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act, which if passed by the Senate and signed by the President, could result in more federal funds including replacement of lost state revenues due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Alabama Legislature will return to Montgomery today to conclude the 2020 legislative session. There is a strong likelihood of a special session later this summer.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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