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School boards expecting growth

There was surprisingly very little discussion of educational doom and gloom during the Tuesday evening meeting of the Alabama Association of School Boards.

Instead, school board members from across District 5 found themselves continually hearing the word &uot;growth&uot; whenever the topic led to the state’s Education Trust Fund.

Approximately 60 board members from several nearby counties gathered at the St. James Hotel for the AASB’s first meeting of the year, in which Sen. Hank Sanders was the guest speaker.

Dr. Sandra Sims-deGraffenried, executive director of the AASB, said the organization is carefully watching as money makes its way into the Educational Trust Fund.

Sims-deGraffenried added that if the possibility of more money from sales and income taxes helps to improve the tight bugets of

school boards, the focus should be on providing a better education for students before dealing with any other issues.

This was a statement that Sanders seemed to completely agree with.

Sanders told the board members that he is diligently working to find a way to restore some of the things that have been cut from the state’s education budget, including money for textbooks and programs for at-risk students.

Sanders told board members he does not expect Gov. Bob Riley to ask for increased funds for either the General Fund or the Education Trust Fund anytime soon.

However, he added, if these state funds continue to see an increase like they have over the past three months, there may not be a need for future teacher or school system employee lay-offs.