Budget Watch: Tracking the 2023 Education Trust Fund Budget

It’s that time of year again! The 2022 Alabama Legislative Session began on January 11th, during which important budgetary decisions will be made for Alabama’s schools. We will be updating this page throughout the session as the Education Trust Fund budget moves through both chambers of the Legislature.


Updated

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Governor Releases Proposed Budget

Governor Kay Ivey released her executive budget proposal to the Legislature, which outlines her education budget priorities, on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. Below are some highlights of her priorities. You can access the full spreadsheet here.

Proposed FY 2023 ETF Budget Bill

To view the introduced FY 2023 ETF budget bill, click here. The Governor’s priorities in next year’s Education Trust Fund budget include the following (partial list):

There is funding for existing programs within the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE):

  • $5 million increase for the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI)
  • $3 million increase for the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI)
  • $1 million increase for Computer Science expansion
  • $2 million increase for English Language Learners to fund state and regional specialists
  • $1.5 million increase for Mental Health Coordinator program to fund one coordinator in each school district
  • $2 million increase for Advanced Placement
  • $1 million increase for Jobs for Alabama Graduates (JAG) programs
  • $1 million to continue the new Marketing Campaign for Teachers
  • $750K increase for National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) scholarships
  • $10 million for the Special Education preschool program
  • $5 million increase for Career Coaches

In terms of funding for new programs within the ALSDE, the budget outlined:

  • $10 million for Underperforming Elementary Schools – New grant program announced by Governor Ivey in her State of the State Address to assess challenges and provide additional support to the lowest-performing elementary schools in the state.
  • $5 million total for the Governor’s Mathematics Education Coaching Corps – Also announced in Governor Ivey’s State of the State Address, this is a pilot program for math coaches in grades K-5.
  • $8.5 million in new funding for an Autism Therapy Program, which would provide more Certified Behavior Analysts
  • $450K for the new Online High-Speed Teacher Certification Portal

The Department of Early Childhood Education: 

  • First Class Pre-K: $22.5 million increase to add 125 First Class Pre-K classrooms and increase the number of 4-year-olds served from 42% to 45%. It also includes funding for a 4% pay raise and programs to increase the pipeline of pre-k teachers.
  • Childcare Quality: There is also a $17.6 million increase under the Department of Human Resources to support increased quality in childcare providers. Improving childcare quality is critical to ensuring children are prepared to learn when they enter school.

Summer and Afterschool Grant Program: A total of $1.5 million for a new pilot grant program to fund partnerships between local school districts and community-based organizations to expand access to high-quality summer and afterschool programs.

Teacher Pay Raises: All K-12 education employees would receive an across-the-board 4% pay raise. In addition, the Governor is proposing increased step-raises in the salary matrix for classroom teachers, which could be a total raise of over 8 percent for the most experienced teachers. 

TEAMS: $100 million for the TEAMS program for STEM teachers

Technology Professional Development Days: $33 million for 2 additional contract days of professional development on technology for teachers

School-Based Mental Health: $1 million to the Department of Mental Health to fund 20 school-based mental health collaboration program sites (10 existing, 10 new), which brings the total number of sites in the state to 81.

Supplemental FY 2022 Budget Bill:

Due to cautious budgeting and very strong economic growth in Alabama during the pandemic (driven in part by federal spending), the state has a current budget surplus of over $1.2 billion from FY 2022. This is an extraordinary circumstance of one-time state money that is not expected to continue. Governor Ivey is proposing to use this surplus to both fund one-time projects for schools and pay off debt that will free up money in future budget years that can then be invested in schools going forward. Click here to view the bill.

In part, Governor Ivey is proposing the following: 

  • $651 million for the Advancement and Technology Fund – The A&T Fund is a formula-based distribution to local school districts and colleges for one-time projects (equipment, technology, instructional support, maintenance, etc.).
  • $111 million to fully fund the Budget Stabilization Fund – this fully funds the education budget savings account to free up money in future budgets and protect against future economic downturns that might lead to proration.
  • $60 million in additional funds to support implementation of the new TEAMS Act for STEM teacher recruitment and retention
  • $37.2 million for a bonus for Retired Teachers 
  • $200 million for pay off debt that is funded every year out of the ETF budget. 
  • $177 million to pay off the PACT program commitment – The state has been making annual payments out of the ETF to honor scholarship contracts from the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program that went bankrupt during the 2008 recession.

Follow Along for Updates During the Session:

As always, we will update you with more information as it comes available. Follow along with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We will also continue sending our weekly education news round-up, The Gist, every Friday morning with updates from the previous week. Click here to sign up.

New this year, you can access our recently-launched A+ Policy Portal, which provides great information on education issues and will help you follow along during the legislative process.


 

Updated

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Recap of the Joint Education Budget Hearing

On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, the first day of the 2022 Regular Legislative Session, the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives held a joint education budget hearing to allow state education leaders the opportunity to share priorities for the FY 2022-2023 Education Trust Fund Budget. Both Kirk Fulford of the Legislative Fiscal Office and State Finance Director Bill Poole presented on the state’s financial status. Due to federal money that came to Alabama as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Education Trust Fund has shown 16% growth over the past year, a historic number (the estimated growth for the next year is 3.61%). Governor Kay Ivey’s proposed ETF budget for FY 2023 is a total of $8.3 billion dollars, a $627 million increase over this year’s budget.

Governor Ivey’s Pre-K-12 priorities for this year’s ETF budget include:

  • Investments in Pre-K, summer and afterschool, and daycare programs
  • Investments in opportunities for Math and Science students and teachers
  • Investments in Professional Development for Teachers
  • Expanding access to school-based mental health services
  • Preparation for future economic downturns

Governor Ivey will provide more detail in her State of the State address tonight, January 11th, at 6 P.M. She will also release her proposed budget to the Legislature which outlines her budgetary priorities in more detail. This historically happens on the second day of the session.

The Alabama State Department of Education’s ETF budget priorities:

In the afternoon, Dr. Eric Mackey, State Superintendent, presented on the Alabama State Department of Education’s (ALSDE) FY 2023 K-12 budget request. Dr. Mackey focused on literacy, math, and student mental health, and made budget requests in these areas and more, including: 

  • $15.5 million increase for reading supports including the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI), more building based reading coaches, and English Language Learners
  • $4 million increase for Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) and Alabama Science in Motion
  • $2 million increase for Advanced Placement (AP)
  • $3.5 million for ACCESS distance learning to expand remote courses
  • $1.5 million increase for School-Based Mental Health Coordinator Program
  • $60 million increase for school nurses
  • $11.5 million increase for student assessments, which includes updating the ACAP test to reflect the most recently passed Math and ELA courses of study

Click here for a link to Dr. Mackey’s presentation, including a full list of the Alabama State Department of Education’s budget requests. 

As always, we will update you with more information as it comes available. Follow along with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We will also continue sending our weekly education news round-up, The Gist, every Friday morning with updates from the previous week. Click here to sign up.

New this year, you can access our recently-launched A+ Policy Portal, which provides great information on education issues and will help you follow along during the legislative process.