Last week the State Board of Education approved its budget and policy recommendations for the 2014 fiscal year with an eye toward restoring funding previously cut and adding funding to programs that have shown results.
The budget is focused on moving the State Department of Education toward a clear goal of ensuring every student graduates from high school college or career ready.
A list of the SBOE’s policy, legislative and budget priorities distributed at the November 8 meeting, explains that “The Alabama State Board of Education would like to work with Governor Bentley on an executive order in support of its commitment to a shared definition of a prepared graduate that would include representatives from preK, Department of Postsecondary Education, Institutions of Higher Education, and the Business and industry community.”
Included in the recommendations is $10 million reallocated from other programs to help implement a comprehensive human capital plan that includes Professional Pathways for Teachers. That plan would create “differentiated roles for teachers who have a proven record of success in student learning gains, instructional mastery, and leadership but who do not desire to move into traditional administrative roles,” and was developed by the SBOE Commission on Quality Teaching.
Among other items, the SBOE budget recommendations include an increase of $3 million for the Advanced Placement line item in the Education Trust Fund budget, boosting the amount to just over $5 million. This funding is used as part of a public-private partnership with A+ College Ready that has resulted in Alabama leading the nation in gains qualifying AP test scores in math, science and English courses.
For early childhood education, the SBOE budget recommendations call for $5 million for pre-k. This is separate—but would likely work in tandem with—the request for a $12.5 million boost in pre-k funding for the Office of School Readiness in the Department of Children Affairs.
Also in the recommendations, The Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative has received a boost of $10 million, and Arts Education is allocated $5 million.