Budget Watch: Tracking the 2025 Education Trust Fund Budget

Updated

Monday, May 20, 2024

Gov. Ivey Signs FY 2025 Education Trust Fund Budget

On May 15th, 2024, Governor Ivey signed the FY 2025 Education Trust Fund budget package into law. It includes the $9.3 billion Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget (HB145 and Final Spreadsheet), the $651 million Supplemental Appropriation (HB144), and the $1 billion appropriation from the Advancement & Technology fund (HB147). We break down all three below.

The FY2025 Education Trust Fund Budget (HB 145 & Final Spreadsheet)

Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget totals a record $9.348 billion, a $550 million (6.25%) increase over last year and the maximum amount that can be spent by law. That includes $6.3 billion for K-12 schools and programs. Here are some of the highlights:

Department of Early Childhood Education:

  • $185.4 million for the Office of School Readiness for First Class Pre-K, a $3.9 million increase over FY24.

Alabama Public Charter School Commission

  • $1.5 million for the Commission, increased from $400,000 in FY2024 and moved to its own line item, after 2023 legislation that made the Commission independent from the ALSDE.

Local Boards of Education:

  • Foundation Program: $4.639 billion, a $151 million increase over FY24. 
    • Pay Raise: Educators receive a 2% across the board pay increase.
    • Starting Salary Increase: $19.2 million of this would be for a starting salary increase. This would bring Alabama’s starting teacher salary to $47,600, the highest in the southeast. 
    • Assistant Principals: $10.8 million was included to hire APs in schools with at least 300 students.
    • Classroom Supplies: The House originally passed $1,000 per unit for classroom materials and supplies. The Senate reduced that to $900 per unit but added a new “common purchase fund” at each local school at $100 per unit.
  • At-Risk Grant Program: $21.2 million, which provides funding to school districts based on the number of students in poverty and the number of students not proficient on ACAP exams. This comes out to less than $50 per student. (This is separate from the At Risk funding allocated to the ALSDE.)
  • TEAMS Program: $80 million for the salary matrix for STEM teachers, level funded from FY24, which was the ALSDE request. 
  • Special Education Teacher Stipends: $7.9 million to provide a $1,200 stipend to each special education classroom teacher, a $3.2 million increase.
  • Start-Up or Conversion Charter Schools: $2 million for Current Units, which is a mechanism to fund new schools that have not previously been in the Foundation Program.

Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE):

  • Alabama Literacy Act / Alabama Reading Initiative: $142.8 million , a $48 million increase over FY24. This increase supports services that were previously funded through federal ESSER dollars that are expiring, including LETRS training in the Science of Reading, Summer Reading Camps, high-quality instructional materials, etc. This is the largest amount of state funding for reading in the state’s history. 
  • Alabama Numeracy Act (ANA): $68 million to support ANA implementation through the ALSDE Office of Math Improvement. This was higher than the FY24 allocation of $40 million and the department’s request of $63.8 million. This funding will be used to pay for math coaches in full and limited support schools, the Alabama Summer Mathematics Achievement Program in full support schools, summer math camps, and high-quality instructional materials.
  • Principal Leadership and Mentoring Act: $30.8 million to continue implementation of the 2023 law, which provides stipends to principals and assistant principals that complete the program. 
  • English Language Learners: $18.5 million for English Language Learners, a $2.3 million increase from FY24. This includes a $2 million earmark for regional English Language specialists, level funded from F24. 
  • High Hopes for Alabama Students / At-Risk Funding: $11.98 million for at-risk students, which was increased in the Senate by $1 million over FY24.
  • Advanced Placement: $13.5 million for Advanced Placement, a $2 million increase over FY24
  • Computer Science: $6 million for Computer Science for Alabama program, level funded from FY24, which was the ALSDE request.
  • Alabama Summer and Afterschool Program: $2.8 million for grants to local school districts and community-based organizations, which is level funded from FY2024 
  • Student Assessment: $19.4 million, level funded from FY24. This is less than the $23.3 million requested by the ALSDE. 
  • Office of School Improvement: $1.85 million for the OSI, which supports improvement in our state’s lowest performing schools. This is an increase from FY24’s $950,000. 
  • Governor’s Turnaround Schools: $10 million for the Governor’s multi-year initiative to to turnaround the lowest-performing schools in the state. 
  • College and Career Readiness Grants: This line item was reduced to $0 and moved to the supplemental budget (see below). FY24 appropriation was $15 million, and the request for FY25 was $20 million.
  • Data Literacy: $2.6 million for the Alabama Data Scholars Internship Program, a new partnership between Innovate Alabama and QuantHub.  
  • Early Childhood Classroom Assessment: $2.75 million for the formative assessments for the Alabama Literacy Act & the Alabama Numeracy Act
  • Alabama Teacher Mentor Program: $5 million for teacher mentoring for first and second year teachers, an increase of $1 million.
  • School Safety, Security, and Climate: $11.2 million, which includes earmarking for $4 million for the Bullying Prevention Project, $250,000 for the Mental Health Collaborative, $800,000 for Regional Safety Training Specialists, and $4.7 million for Mental Health Service Coordinators. The Mental Health Service Coordinators line item is level funded from FY24 and less than the department’s request of $9.2 million. 
  • Career Coaches: $15.7 million for the Career Coaches program under Career Tech, a $2.5 million increase over FY24.
  • Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates (JAG): $5 million, a $1 million increase.
  • Gifted Students: $12.3 million for the Gifted Students program, a $2 million increase.
  • Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs): The Senate added $5 million to the budget to fund defibrillators in schools. This is connected to SB 59, sponsored by Senator Orr, which requires CPR training in high schools. This bill was introduced after Senator Tim Melson was saved by CPR from Orr and other Senate colleagues when he had a heart attack while on a legislative trip to South Korea.
  • Public Education Employee Injury Compensation Program: $14.9 million in new funding was added to support the implementation of SB 278 if it passes the Legislature this year. The bill aims to provide compensation to full-time public education employees who are injured on the job. The bill failed to pass, so the funding will go to the Foundation Program.
  • STEM Education Consortium: $750,000 was added to be divided equally between the Cook Natural Science Museum, McWane Center, and Saban Center. The new Saban Center in Tuscaloosa has been a funding priority for Governor Ivey.
  • Educational Delivery Options for Public Schools Grant Program: In response to the CHOOSE Act, the House added a new $5 million Innovation Grant Program, where public schools can apply for grants to pilot new innovative approaches, like offering year-round school or transportation.
  • Unmet Needs Grant Program: $10 million (a $5 million increase) for the Unmet Needs grant program, which is geared towards districts that need facility improvements, especially if they are coming up short on funding in a contract.

Department of Human Resources:

  • Child Care and After School Program: $71.2 million for the child care subsidy program, an increase of $8 million over FY24. 
  • Summer EBT Food Program: At the urging of advocates, the Senate added $10 million needed to administer the federal Summer EBT food program. Starting in 2025, the program will provide every eligible school-age child in a low-income household with $120 in food assistance each summer. It is 100% federally funded and could impact 500,000 Alabama students.

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA):

  • School Safety Evaluations, Mapping, and Grants: $1.5 million to support SB98 by Senator Orr and Rep. Collins, which aims to increase school safety and security. That bill passed, and this funding will support its implementation.

Supplemental Budget (HB 144):

The supplemental budget totals $651.2 million, of which approximately $193 million is for K-12 schools and programs. Here are some of the highlights:

Local Boards of Education ($94.2 million total):

  • Core Textbooks: $25 million for core-adoption textbooks
  • Fleet Renewal: $15 million for new school buses
  • Career Tech O&M: $10 million for CTE purchases of equipment and supplies
  • School Nurse Salary Matrix: $22.3 million 
  • AL Science in Motion Program (ASIMS): $13.8 million
  • Foundation Program: $8.1 million for unanticipated shortfalls in the Foundation Program

State Department of Education ($63.8 million total):

  • Charter School Funding: $9 million for a grant program for charter schools with funds to be allocated on a per pupil basis and used for the same purposes allowed for the Advancement and Technology Fund appropriations. This is an A+ Legislative Priority and will help to ensure public charter schools receive additional state funding to help make up for the significant gap in local funding, which is up to $4,000 per student.
  • Struggling Readers Beyond Grade 3: $5 million to support struggling readers that are beyond grade 3 and not currently supported by Literacy Act funding.
  • Summer Reading Camps: $15 million for summer reading camps to support implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act
  • College & Career Readiness Grants: $17 million for College and Career Readiness grants to local school districts to support efforts for students to attain a college and career readiness indicator for graduation.
  • Small Magic: $500,000 for school readiness programs.

Other Funding (selected):

  • CHOOSE ACT (Department of Revenue): $51 million for Education Savings Accounts through the CHOOSE Act (HB129/SB61), which includes $1 million for the Department of Revenue to administer the CHOOSE Act program. 
  • Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences: $15 million to establish the new Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences in Demopolis, which is a priority for Governor Ivey.
  • Lt. Governor’s Capital Grant Program: $15 million for this grant program, started last year, which allows schools to apply for additional funding for facilities and capital needs. Includes new language that allows any grantee to amend their original grant proposal if their needs have changed to allow full utilization of the funds. 
  • Alabama Talent Triad: Maintained $2,450,000 for the Talent Triad, a new initiative that helps to connect job seekers with industry through the use of Learning & Employment Records (LERs). This work has been led by Governor Ivey’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation.
  • Mobile Area Education Foundation: $800,000 to continue a partnership between the Mobile Area Education Foundation and Bishop State Community College to train 18-24 year olds for high-wage, high-demand jobs in South Alabama.
  • State Speciality Schools: $650,000 each for the Alabama School of Fine Arts, the Alabama School of Math and Science, and the Alabama School of Cybertechnology and  Engineering.
  • Department of Commerce Study: $850,000 was added to conduct a statewide assessment of Alabama’s key economic development-related infrastructure along targeted growth corridors.
  • Alabama Community College System: $112 million for various projects across the two-year college system.
  • Four-Year College and Universities: $230.5 million for various projects across 13 colleges and universities and the AL Commission on Higher Education.
  • New Alabama State House: $25 million toward the construction and/or equipping of the new State House and Capitol complex renovations in order to provide enhanced educational opportunities for school children, college students, and other residents from throughout the state.

Advancement & Technology Fund (HB147):

  • The Advancement & Technology fund is funded from supplemental appropriations, and schools can use this money for one-time expenses, like upgrading their technology or facilities. Currently, its balance is $1.75 billion, and the House added $300 million to Gov. Ivey’s recommendation of $700 million to bring their recommendation for the total A&T appropriation to $1 billion. The Senate maintained the $1 billion in the House bill and added Covenant Charter School, which opened this year. The Conference Committee restored the $2 million for professional learning through the Ed Farm Classrooms of Tomorrow that had been removed by the Senate. Under the final bill, $726.3 million is going to K-12 schools distributed by a formula based on average daily membership (ADM). Click here to see the bill, which has a list of how much each school system would receive.

Updated

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Legislature Gives Final Passage to the FY 2025 Education Trust Fund Budget

Last Thursday, May 2nd, the House voted not to concur with the Senate changes to the FY2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget, requiring a conference committee of House and Senate members to work out any differences. On Tuesday, May 7th, the Senate agreed, and the conference committee began its work. A few hours later, the Conference Committee reported its final version of the ETF budget package. On Thursday, May 9th, both the House and the Senate voted unanimously to accept the committee’s report and the ETF budget package passed the Legislature. It is now on its way to Governor Ivey for her signature.

Here are the updated versions of the budget package that passed out of the Conference Committee: the FY 2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget (HB145 and Senate Passed Spreadsheet), the Supplemental Appropriation (HB144), and the Advancement & Technology fund (HB147). 

The Conference Committee made some small changes to the version that passed the Senate last week. Here is a summary of the relevant changes:

The FY2025 Education Trust Fund (HB145)

The FY 2025 ETF budget is a record $9.3 billion, a $550 million (6.25%) increase over last year.

Alabama State Department of Education:

  • School Safety Evaluations, Mapping, and Grants: SB98 by Senator Orr and Rep. Collins aims to increase school safety and security. This funding would support its implementation. If it does not pass, the funding will revert to the Foundation Program. The Senate added $1.5 million to the State Department of Education for this program. The Conference Committee moved that grant program to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA).

Supplemental Budget (HB144)

The Conference Committee maintained the total $651 million for the Supplemental Budget. Supplemental funds must be spent in this current fiscal year. Here’s the breakdown of key changes:

Alabama State Department of Education:

  • Principal Leadership & Mentoring Act: The Conference Committee added $750,000 to include Career Tech Center Directors who are eligible for stipends under the new program. 

Other Funding:

  • Education Retiree Cost of Living Adjustments: The Senate contributed $5 million to the Education Retiree Trust Fund to begin saving to fund an education retiree COLA. However, the Conference Committee removed this $5 million, so it will not be in the final budget. For context, every year there is a push to provide retired educators a cost of living adjustment (COLA) through the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). There has not been a COLA since approximately 2007. However, any change in retirement payments has to be funded every year going forward or the TRS is not sustainable. For example, Senator Hatcher introduced a bill that would have provided a 3% COLA, and the estimated cost was $75 million per year going forward. At times, the Legislature has funded a 1-month bonus pension payment to provide some support. Several years ago, the Legislature established an Education Retirees’ Trust Fund with the goal of saving enough money to fund permanent cost-of-living increases for retirees. 
  • Alabama Community College System: The Conference Committee added $2.05 million for capital projects.
  • Alabama Council on the Arts: $175,000 for the Symphony in Education program was moved from the ALSDE to the Council on the Arts. An additional $1.1 million was added to a grant program to fund projects that build, renovate, restore, preserve, or enhance non-profit and local government arts facilities, including performing arts centers, art museums, etc.
  • Alabama Historical Commission: The Conference Committee allocated an additional $1.1 million to a grant program at the Historical Commission.

Advancement & Technology Fund (HB147)

The Advancement & Technology fund is funded from supplemental appropriations. Currently, its balance is $1.75 billion, and the House added $300 million to Gov. Ivey’s recommendation of $700 million to bring their recommendation for the FY25 total appropriation to $1 billion. The Senate maintained the $1 billion in the House bill and added Covenant Charter School, which opened this year. The Conference Committee restored the $2 million for professional learning through the Ed Farm Classrooms of Tomorrow that had been removed by the Senate. Schools can use this money for one-time expenses, like upgrading their technology or facilities.


Updated

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Senate Passes FY 2025 Education Trust Fund Budget

On Thursday, May 2nd, the full Senate voted unanimously to pass their version of the FY 2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget package. Because there were changes to the House version, it now goes back to the House for them to either concur or go to a conference committee to work out any differences before final passage. 

Here are the updated versions of the budget package that passed out of the Senate: the FY 2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget (HB145 and Committee Spreadsheet), the Supplemental Appropriation (HB144), the Advancement & Technology fund (HB147), and a pay raise for public education employees (HB146). 

As expected, the Senate made some relatively minor changes to the version they approved in committee by adopting a floor substitute bill. Here is a summary of the relevant changes:

The FY2025 Education Trust Fund (HB145 and Spreadsheet)

The FY 2025 ETF budget is a record $9.3 billion, a $550 million (6.25%) increase over last year.

Alabama State Department of Education:

  • School Safety Evaluations, Mapping, and Grants: SB98 by Senator Orr and Rep. Collins aims to increase school safety and security. This funding would support its implementation. If it does not pass, the funding will revert to the Foundation Program.
  • STEM Education Consortium: $750,000 was added to be divided equally between the Cook Natural Science Museum, McWane Center, and Saban Center. The new Saban Center in Tuscaloosa has been a funding priority for Governor Ivey.
  • CLAS Certified Instructional Leader Program: The Senate committee had removed funding to this program, but it was added back on the floor at $350,000.

Supplemental Budget  (HB144)

The Senate maintained the House’s total of $651 million for the Supplemental Budget. Supplemental funds must be spent in this current fiscal year. Here’s the breakdown of key changes:

Local Boards of Education:

  • School Bus Purchases: This is funding to supplement the purchase of new school buses. The Senate reduced the amount from $20 million to $15 million.

Other Funding:

  • Education Retiree Cost of Living Adjustments: Every year, there is a push to provide retired educators a cost of living adjustment (COLA) through the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). There has not been a COLA since approximately 2007. However, any change in retirement payments has to be funded every year going forward or the TRS is not sustainable. For context, Senator Hatcher introduced a bill that would have provided a 3% COLA, and the estimated cost was $75 million per year going forward. At times, the Legislature has funded a 1-month bonus pension payment to provide some support. Several years ago, the Legislature established an Education Retirees’ Trust Fund with the goal of saving enough money to fund permanent cost-of-living increases for retirees. To support this goal, the Senate contributed $5 million to the trust fund to begin saving for this effort.

Advancement & Technology Fund (HB147)

The Advancement & Technology fund is funded from supplemental appropriations. Currently, its balance is $1.75 billion, and the House added $300 million to Gov. Ivey’s recommendation of $700 million to bring their recommendation for the FY25 total appropriation to $1 billion. The Senate maintained the $1 billion in the House bill and added Covenant Charter School, which opened this year. Schools can use this money for one-time expenses, like upgrading their technology or facilities.

 


Updated

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Senate F&TE Committee approves FY2025 Education Trust Fund Budget

On Tuesday, Chairman Arthur Orr presented the Senate’s version of the FY 2025 Education Trust Fund Budget package to the Finance & Taxation Education (F&TE) Committee, which unanimously approved it. It now goes to the full Senate for a vote, expected on Thursday, May 2nd. Additional changes are often made on the Senate floor, as well.

Here are the updated versions of the budget package that passed out of the F&TE committee: the FY2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget (HB145 and Spreadsheet), the Supplemental Appropriation (HB144), the Advancement & Technology fund (HB147), and a pay raise for public education employees (HB146). 

Here is a summary of some of the changes that the Senate made to the version passed by the House:

The FY2025 Education Trust Fund (HB145 and Spreadsheet)

While the Senate maintained much of the House’s total ETF budget of $9.3 billion, they made a few adjustments, including the following:

Local Boards:

Foundation Program: $4.64 billion for the Foundation Program, which is a $40.5 million reduction from the House version. Part of this reduction was expected due to updated calculations, but some of it also went to fund the $14.9 million related to the workers comp insurance (SB 278) discussed below.

  • Assistant Principals: $10.8 million was maintained to hire APs in schools with at least 300 students.
  • Starting Salary Increase: $19.2 million was maintained for a starting salary increase. This would bring Alabama’s starting teacher salary to $47,600, the highest in the southeast. Both teachers and education support personnel at K-12 schools would receive a 2% pay raise. 
  • Classroom Supplies: The House originally passed $1,000 per unit for classroom materials and supplies. The Senate reduced that to $900 per unit but added a new “common purchase fund” at each local school at $100 per unit.

Alabama State Department of Education:

  • Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs): The Senate added $5 million to the budget to fund defibrillators in schools. This is connected to SB 59, sponsored by Senator Orr, which requires CPR training in high schools. This bill was introduced after Senator Tim Melson was saved by CPR from Orr and other Senate colleagues when he had a heart attack while on a legislative trip to South Korea.
  • Public Education Employee Injury Compensation Program: $14.9 million in new funding was added to support the implementation of SB 278 if it passes the Legislature this year. That bill aims to provide compensation to full-time public education employees who are injured on the job. If it fails to pass, the funding will revert to the Foundation Program.
  • English Language Learners: The Senate increased support for English Language Learners by $1 million over the House version, for a total of $18.5 million.
  • High Hopes / At-Risk Funding: The Senate increased support for at-risk students by $1 million.

Other Funding Adjustments:

  • Summer EBT Food Program: At the urging of advocates, the Senate added $10 million needed to administer the federal Summer EBT food program. Starting in 2025, the program will provide every eligible school-age child in a low-income household with $120 in food assistance each summer. It is 100% federally funded and could impact 500,000 Alabama students.

Supplemental Budget (HB144)

The Senate maintained the House’s total of $651 million for the Supplemental Budget, but made some adjustments to the line items. Supplemental funds must be spent in this current fiscal year. Here’s the breakdown:

Local Boards of Education:

  • Assistant Principals: The Senate removed $7.8 million to fund the new Assistant Principals for the first two months of the school year to support schools until October 1st, when next year’s ETF budget is available. However, this funding is expected to be made up elsewhere.

Other Funding:

  • Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences: Reduced by $5 million to $15 million. The House version had already reduced it to $20 million from the Governor’s proposed $30 million. This new Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences in Demopolis is a priority for Governor Ivey.
  • Lt. Governor’s Capital Grant Program: The Senate reduced this line item to $15 million from $20 million in the House version. This grant program, started last year, allows schools to apply for additional funding for facilities and capital needs.
  • State Speciality Schools: Added $650,000 each for the Alabama School of Fine Arts, the Alabama School of Math and Science, and the Alabama School of Cybertechnology and  Engineering.
  • Department of Commerce Study: $850,000 was added to conduct a statewide assessment of Alabama’s key economic development-related infrastructure along targeted growth corridors.
  • Alabama Institute for Institute for the Deaf and Blind: Increased to a total of $3.4 million from $964,000 for relocating and expanding its Montgomery Regional Center.
  • Marine Environmental Science Consortium: Doubled funding from $2 million to $4 million.
  • Alabama Talent Triad: Maintained $2,450,000 for the Talent Triad, a new initiative that helps to connect job seekers with industry through the use of Learning & Employment Records (LERs). This work has been led by Governor Ivey’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation.

Advancement & Technology Fund (HB147)

The Advancement & Technology fund is funded from supplemental appropriations. Currently, its balance is $1.75 billion, and the House added $300 million to Gov. Ivey’s recommendation of $700 million to bring their recommendation for the FY25 total appropriation to $1 billion. The Senate maintained the $1 billion in the House bill and added Covenant Charter School, which opened this year. Schools can use this money for one-time expenses, like upgrading their technology or facilities. 

 


Updated

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

House Passes $9.3 Billion FY2025 Education Trust Fund Budget

Today, the full House of Representatives voted to pass their version of the FY 2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget package. It now goes to the Senate F&TE committee. 

The FY 2025 ETF budget is a record $9.3 billion, a $550 million (6.25%) increase over last year. There was one minor technical change to the substitute bill approved by the House Ways & Means Education committee on April 9th (see our previous updates below for more detail). The House voted 102-1 to pass it, with the only no vote coming from Rep. Marilyn Lands (D-Huntsville/Madison) who was just elected in a special election two weeks ago.

The full House passed the FY 2024 Supplemental Appropriation unanimously. The only significant change reallocated $15 million from the Lt. Governor’s K-12 Capital Grant program to the Community Services Grant line item. Through Community Service Grants, House members are able to select projects to receive funding, such as a school in their district.

Here are the updated versions of the budget bills passed by the House that now go to the Senate: the FY 2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget (HB145 and the Budget Spreadsheet), the FY 2024 Supplemental Appropriation (HB144), the Advancement & Technology fund (HB147), and a 2% pay raise for public education employees (HB146).

 


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

House Committee Approves the FY2025 Education Trust Fund Budget

Today, the House Ways & Means Education Committee voted to approve their version of the FY 2025 Education Trust Fund Budget. It now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote that is expected as early as next Tuesday, April 16th. Chairman Danny Garrett held a hearing on the House’s proposed substitute budget bill on April 4th, which contained changes to the Governor’s proposed budgets you can read about in our previous update below. Today, there were only minor technical changes made to the House substitute. Here are the updated versions of the budget bills that the House will vote on next week: the FY2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget (HB145), the supplemental appropriation (HB144), the Advancement & Technology fund (HB147), and a 2% pay raise for public education employees (HB146).

 


Thursday, April 4, 2024

House Hearing on the FY2025 Education Trust Fund Budget 

Today, House Ways & Means Education Chairman Danny Garrett held a hearing with his committee about the House’s proposed budget substitute bill, which contained several changes to the Governor’s proposed budgets. As always, the budget package includes multiple bills: the FY2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget (HB145), the supplemental appropriation (HB144), the Advancement & Technology fund (HB147), a pay raise for public education employees (HB146), and funding for certain higher education institutions. The public will get to see the updated versions of these bills next Tuesday. The links above are for the Governor’s proposal.

Here is a summary of some of the changes that the House made to the Governor’s proposed budget, based on what the Chairman read to the committee:

The FY2025 Education Trust Fund (HB 145)

While the House maintained the Governor’s total budget request of $9.348 billion, they made a few adjustments to her record-breaking Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget.

Local Boards:

  • Foundation Program: $4.67 billion for the Foundation Program, a 3.69% increase over FY24. 
    • Assistant Principals: $10.8 million to hire APs in schools with at least 300 students, down from 500 students.
    • Starting Salary Increase: $19.2 million was maintained for a starting salary increase. This would bring Alabama’s starting teacher salary to $47,600, the highest in the southeast. Both teachers and education support personnel at K-12 schools would receive a 2% pay raise. 
    • Classroom Supplies: Removed $8 million to account for an overage in this number last year, when the legislature provided additional money for classroom supplies in the Supplemental budget so teachers could receive this money when the schools year starts instead of having to wait to October, when the Education Trust Fund budget year begins. Teachers will still received $1,000 each for their classroom supplies.
  • Unmet Needs Grant Program: Added $5 million for the Unmet Needs grant program, which is geared towards districts that need facility improvements, especially if they are coming up short on funding in a contract. A district could receive from $50,000 to $250,000 in a single year.

Alabama State Department of Education:

  • Innovation Grant Program: In response to the CHOOSE Act, the House added a new $5 million Innovation Grant Program, where public schools can apply for grants to pilot new innovative approaches, like offering year-round school or transportation. 
  • Struggling Readers Beyond Grade 3: Maintained the Governor’s recommendation of $0 for struggling readers beyond grade 3 in ETF, but Chairman Garrett added $5 million for this in the Supplemental budget. This line item received no funding in FY24. The department’s request was $22 million.
  • Turnaround Schools: The House decreased the additional $1 million request from the Governor’s budget, bringing the total back to $10 million for Turnaround Schools.

Department of Early Childhood Education:

  • Montgomery Pre-K Pilot: +$1 million for a Pre-K pilot program in Montgomery Public Schools, that will expand to all 50 centers in Montgomery and will provide reading and math interventions. 
  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library: +$500K, which comes from the decrease to the Alabama Library Service.

Other Funding Adjustments:

  • Rural Broadband Grant Program: Removes the $25 million increase suggested by the Governor. Chairman Garrett explained that this was zeroed out because hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested across the state in rural broadband in recent years.
  • Alabama Library Service: Removes $750K, which is redirected to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Better Basics
  • Saban Center: Removed $500K 
  • McWane Center: Removed $500K 
  • Alabama Humanities Alliance: Removed $100k increase to from last year’s budget, to bring total of $200k
  • Autism Evaluation Services: Added $800K to expand statewide
  • Helping Families Initiative: Added $500K 
  • Feminine Hygiene Grant Program: Added $200K for the feminine hygiene program they added last year.
  • Conflict Resolution: Added $200K for a new conflict resolution program in Birmingham City & Jefferson County Schools.

Supplement Budget:

The House maintained the Governor’s total request of $651 million for the Supplemental Budget, but made some adjustments to the line items. Here’s the breakdown:

Local Boards of Education:

  • Fleet Renewal: Reduced $50 million for new school buses to $20 million.
  • Core Textbook Adoption: Reduced $28.8 million for core subject textbooks to $22 million.

State Department of Education:

  • Charter School Facilities: Added a new line item for Charter School Facilities for $7 million, which is an A+ Legislative Priority. This will help to ensure public charter schools receive state funding to make up for the significant gap in local funding, which is up to $4,000 per student.
  • Assistant Principals: Added $7.8 million to hire Assistant Principals in schools with at least 300 students, down from 500 students. This amount in the Supplemental allows districts to hire APs before the school year begins, instead of having to wait until the Education Trust Fund budget year starts in October.
  • Struggling Readers Beyond Grade 3: Added $5 million, which would provide support to struggling readers that are beyond grade 3 and not currently supported by Literacy Act funding. This line item received no funding in FY24 and no funding in the Governor’s proposed budgets. The department’s FY25 request was $22 million.
  • Summer Reading Camps: Maintained $15 million for summer reading camps.
  • Auxiliary Teachers: Maintained the $5.4 million for auxiliary teachers, but added new language that allows schools to use this money to hire English Language Learner (ELL) Aides.
  • School Safety Grants: Removed $100 million for school safety grants, but added $300 million to the Advancement & Technology (A&T) Fund with additional language that explains A&T funding can be spent on school safety. (Gov. Ivey stated this as a priority in her State of the State address – read our recap here)
  • Student Tablet & Computer Replacement: Removed $35 million to replace student tablets or computers through a matching grant program, but added $300 million to the Advancement & Technology (A&T) Fund. This money can be used for tech replacements & updates.
  • College & Career Readiness Grants: Maintained $17 million for College and Career Readiness grants
  • CHOOSE ACT: Maintained $51 million for Education Savings Accounts through the CHOOSE Act (HB129/SB61), which includes $1 million for the Department of Revenue to administer the CHOOSE Act program.

Other Funding:

  • Lt. Governor’s Capital Grant Program: Added $20 million back to the Supplemental for the Lt. Governor’s Capital Grant Program, which the Governor’s Office had zeroed out. This grant program, started last year, allows schools to apply for additional funding for facilities and capital needs.
  • Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences: Reduced $30 million for the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences in Demopolis to $20 million. This new school is a priority for Governor Ivey. Chairman Garrett mentioned that while they are committed to this project, this may not be the final number. The House included a new line item with $3 million to fund student healthcare programs for communities with similar needs around the state.
  • Alabama Talent Triad: Maintained $2,450,000 for the Talent Triad, a new initiative helping to connect job seekers with industry through the use of Learning & Employment Records (LERs). This work has been led by Governor Ivey’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation.

Advancement & Technology Fund (HB147):

The Advancement & Technology fund is funded from supplemental appropriations. Currently, its balance is $1.75 billion, and the House added $300 million to Gov. Ivey’s recommendation of $700 million to bring their recommendation for the FY25 total appropriation to $1 billion. Schools can use this money for one-time expenses, like upgrading their technology or facilities. The House added additional language to signal that districts can use this money for school safety updates as well. On Tuesday, we will learn more about how much each school system would receive.

 


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Governor Ivey’s Recommended FY2025 ETF Budget

Last week, the Governor’s proposed budgets were released. As always, the budget package includes multiple bills: the FY2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget (HB145), the supplemental appropriation (HB144), the Advancement & Technology fund (HB147), a pay raise for public education employees (HB146), and funding for certain higher education institutions. Here’s what’s included:

The FY2025 Education Trust Fund 

Governor Ivey’s proposed record-breaking Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget totals $9.348 billion, a 6.25% increase over last year and the maximum amount that can be spent by law. That includes $6.3 billion for K-12 schools and programs.

Alabama Public Charter School Commission:

  • $1.5 million for the Commission, increased from $400,000 in FY2024 and moved to its own line item.

Local Boards:

  • $4.67 billion for the Foundation Program, a 3.69% increase over FY24. 
    • $19.2 million of this would be for a starting salary increase. This would bring Alabama’s starting teacher salary to $47,600, the highest in the southeast. Both teachers and education support personnel at K-12 schools would receive a 2% pay raise. 
  • $21.2 for the At-Risk program, which provides funding to school districts based on the number of students in poverty and the number of students not proficient on ACAP exams. This comes out to less than $50 per student. (This is separate from the At Risk funding allocated to the ALSDE.)
  • $80 million for the TEAMS program, level funded from FY24, which was the ALSDE request. 
  • $16.3 million for Special Education teacher stipends, providing a $1,200 stipend to each special education classroom teacher. This is $11.6 million higher than the FY24 allocation, but less than the $34 million ALSDE request.
  • $2 million for Current Units to be used for the start-up or conversion of charter schools.

Alabama State Department of Education:

  • $142.8 million for the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI), a $48 million increase over FY24. 
    • $36.8 million is earmarked for Reading Coaches, level funded from FY24. The department requested $61.6 million for this specific expense. 
  • $68 million for implementing the Alabama Numeracy Act through the ALSDE Office of Math Improvement. This was higher than the FY24 allocation of $40 million and the department’s request of $63.8 million.
  • $30.9 million to continue implementation of the 2023 Principal Leadership and Mentoring Act. This matches the request from the ALSDE for the program, of which: 
    • $3.5 million will be for the ALSDE to run the program
    • $16.5 million will be for principal stipends
    • $8.5 million will be for assistant principal stipends
    • $2.3 million will be for additional stipends for both principals and assistant principals in hard-to-staff schools
  • $17.5 million for English Language Learners, a $1.3 million increase from FY24. 
    • This includes a $2 million earmark for regional English Language specialists, level funded from F24. 
  • $0 recommended for struggling readers beyond grade 3. This line item received no funding in FY24. The Board had a significant discussion about this request and how they could support older students struggling to read. The department’s request was $22 million. 
  •  $13.5 million for Advanced Placement, a 2 million dollar increase over FY24
  • $6 million for Computer Science, level funded from FY24, which was the ALSDE request.
  • $2.8 million for the Alabama Summer and Afterschool Program, which is level funded from FY2024 
  • $19.4 million for Student Assessment, level funded from FY24. This is less than the $23.3 million requested by the ALSDE. 
  • $1.85 million for the Office of School Improvement, an increase from FY24’s $950,000. 
  • $11 million for Turnaround Schools, an increase of $1 million over FY24. 
  • $0 for the College and Career Readiness Grants line item. Funding was allocated for this in the supplemental budget instead (see below). FY24 appropriation was $15 million, and the request for FY25 was $20 million.
  • $2.6 million for a new Data Literacy line item to be spent in collaboration with Innovate Alabama 
  • $2.75 million for Early Childhood Classroom Assessment. 
  • $11.2 million for school safety, security, and climate. 
    • $4.7 million of this would be for Mental Health Service Coordinators, level funded from FY24. This is less than the department’s request of $9.2 million for this line item.

Department of Human Resources:

  • $71.2 million for the Child Care and After School Program, an increase of $8 million over FY24. The department’s request for this program was $83 million. 

Department of Early Childhood Education:

  • $185 million for the Office of School Readiness, a $3.9 million increase over FY24. This is less than the requested $188 million.

Supplemental Budget:

The supplemental budget totals $651 million, of which almost $400 million is for K-12 schools and programs. Here’s the breakdown:

Local Boards of Education:

  • $50 million for new school busses
  • $28.8 million for core subject textbooks
  • $8.1 million for the Foundation Program
  • $2 million for the opening of new charter schools through current units

State Department of Education:

  • $15 million for summer reading camps
  • $100 million for school safety grants (Gov. Ivey stated this as a priority in her State of the State address – read our recap here)
  • $35 million to replace student tablets or computers through a matching grant program
  • $17 million for College and Career Readiness grants
  • $50 million for Education Savings Accounts through the CHOOSE Act (HB129/SB61)
    • There is an additional $1 million for the Department of Revenue to administer the CHOOSE Act program

Other Funding:

  • $30 million for the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences in Demopolis, another priority of Gov. Ivey’s from her State of the State address
  • $2.5 million for Ed Farm
  • $2,450,000 for the Talent Triad, a new initiative helping to connect job seekers with industry through the use of Learning & Employment Records (LERs). This work has been led by Governor Ivey’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation.

Advancement & Technology Fund:

The Advancement & Technology fund is funded from supplemental appropriations, which could be up to $1 billion each year. Currently, its balance is $1.75 billion, and Gov. Ivey’s recommendation is to appropriate $700 million of that, with $508.4 million going to K-12 schools distributed by a formula based on average daily membership (ADM). Schools could use this money for one-time expenses, like upgrading their technology or facilities. Click here to see the bill, which has a list of how much each school system would receive.

 


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

On Tuesday, February 6, state agencies presented to the budget committees on the FY2025 budget.

Dr. Eric Mackey, Superintendent of Education – ALSDE Budget Request 

State Superintendent Dr. Mackey presented the ALSDE’s budget request for FY2025 and shared some updates on the department’s work.

  • Advanced Placement: $13.5 million for AP, an increase of $2 million over FY24.
  • Alabama Numeracy Act: $63.8 million, a $23.8 million increase.
  • Alabama Reading Initiative: A total of $158 million, including $61.6 million for K-3 reading coaches and $2.75 million for early childhood classroom assessment.
  • Struggling Readers Beyond Grade 3: $22 million for a line item that received no funding in FY24, despite a $3 million request.
  • Computer Science: Level funded at $6 million. 
  • Mental Health Service Coordinators: $9.2 million, an increase of $4.5 million. 
  • Student Assessment: $23.4 million, an increase of $4 million.
  • Principal Leadership & Mentoring Act: A total of $30.8 million, including $16.5 million for principal stipends, $8.4 million for assistant principal stipends, and $2.3 million for additional stipends for those working in hard-to-staff schools.

The State Board of Education voted to send this request to the Governor at their October meeting. To see the full budget request spreadsheet from the ALSDE, click here.

State Budget Projections 

Kirk Fulford of the Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) presented on the tax revenues that go into the Education Trust Fund budget. Due to federal funding during the pandemic, state tax revenue has been unusually high for the past several years. 

  • In FY2021, revenue was $8.6 billion
  • In FY2022, revenue was $10.4 billion
  • In FY2023, revenue was $10.4 billion

FY23 ended in September 2023. With another year of strong revenues, more tax revenue came in than the Legislature appropriated, leaving a balance of $2.5 billion. In years past, some of this money would have been available for a supplemental bill. However, most of that money is required to be allocated to specific funds and savings accounts, including the following:

  • Budget Stabilization Fund:A savings account created by the Rolling Reserve Act that the legislature can draw from if proration is declared: $111 million. 
  • Educational Opportunities Reserve Fund: A new savings account established last year that the Legislature can use to bolster spending if revenue drops, but does not require proration: $412 million. 
  • Advancement & Technology Fund: A savings account with a formula-based distribution to local school districts and colleges for one-time projects such as equipment, technology, instructional support, maintenance, etc.: $1 billion. 
  • Reversions Available for Reappropriation (unspent funding from state education agencies that will be reappropriated to them): $343 million

That leaves, at most, $651 million that legislators can appropriate in a supplemental budget this year. This is significantly lower than the $2.8 billion the legislature appropriated in last year’s supplemental budget, and will likely continue to decrease in the coming years.

For the FY2025 budget, Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) estimates that tax revenue will be $10.6 million. Due to the caps that limit how much the legislature can appropriate each year, the maximum for FY2025 budget is $9.3 billion. This is a $549 million (6.25%) increase over the FY2024 appropriation.

State Finance Director Bill Poole presented general information about the Governor’s budget proposal, which totals $9.3 billion, the full amount that the legislature is allowed by law to spend. The Governor’s full budget recommendation will be released in the next few days. Check back soon for a breakdown of what is included.