Education budget still undecided

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2003

Last week the Alabama Board of Education voted against the proposed budget cuts for the next school year, instead asking state legislatures to come up with more money for the public school system.

This announcement leaves the majority of public schools without any concrete answers as to how they are going to be rid of financial problems.

The budget-proposed by State Superintendent Ed Richardson-requested the elimination of several science and reading programs, along with reducing extracurricular activities and charging fees to participate in sports.

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Richardson created this budget after projecting that the Education Trust Fund will be facing a multi-million dollar deficit for the 2004-05 fiscal year. While the board has no official authority over the amount of funds given to public schools, legislatures do take their recommendations seriously.

District 5 Rep.Ella Bell said board members are still in contact with each other and currently waiting see what the legislatures plan to do.

Bell said the next board meeting is scheduled for early December and hopes there will be answers by then.

In the meantime, Bell says, it is going to take a lot of public activism to make sure school systems get the budgets they deserve.

Bell said she is personally not worried about the Black Belt region because she believes Montgomery legislatures will keep it well protected.

Bell’s optimism is keeping her satisfied for now, but there are no clear signs yet as to what the future holds for public schools.