The Alabama Association of School Boards presented Alabama State Sen. Donnie Chesteen with its 2021 AASB Legislative Award during the association’s annual Convention held Dec. 2 through Dec. 4 in Birmingham. This award is given to lawmakers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership on behalf of Alabama public schoolchildren and local boards of education.
Chesteen has played a significant role in advocating public education and educators, particularly regarding legislation aimed at addressing the state’s teacher shortage, recruitment and retention issues.
He co-sponsored the Teacher Excellence and Accountability for Mathematics and Science Act, which provides a salary schedule for higher pay for math and science teachers. Chesteen also served as Senate sponsor for enacted legislation authorizing Tier II plan members in the Teachers’ Retirement System to convert accrued sick leave into credible service for retirement. Additionally, Chesteen was successful in passing a bill that established a permanent education retirees’ trust fund to serve as an investment account for the funds and earnings received to provide education retirees with periodic bonus checks.
“The association is honored to present its 2021 AASB Legislative Award to Senator Donnie Chesteen,” said AASB Executive Director Sally Smith. “Chesteen’s actions have proven many times that he has been and will continue to be a fearless advocate for public education.”
For fiscal year 2022, Chesteen has already helped public education in Alabama receive its largest-ever amount of Education Trust Fund dollars, $7.7 billion, which included a pay raise for educators.
More than 400 school board members and other education leaders attended the 2021 AASB Annual Convention. General session speakers included professor and principal tubist, Dr. Richard A. White; Former NFL player, consultant and author Matt Mayberry; Umatilla School System Superintendent Dr. Heidi Sipe; Deputy Director of Legislative Services Agency Fiscal Division Kirk Fulford; and Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama Executive Director Ryan Hankins.