Education funding may be the first hot topic of the new year.
Gov. Robert Bentley has announced that he will ask lawmakers for a constitutional amendment to end the state’s split budgeting, that has protected the education budget from the financial needs of other departments. Bentley especially mentioned that prisons may need more funding to prevent turning prisoners free. The governor also has called for a bond issue for road funds.
Fresh leaders have been chosen for the opposite side of the debate as the powerful Alabama Education Association announced new leaders with a firm stand against changing the budget policy.
The new leader of the AEA is Henry Mabry, who brings a varied background to the new job—having served as finance director under Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman and as a lobbyist for the more conservative Business Council of Alabama.
New deputy chief Gregory Graves is a former teacher who became an attorney for the association.
By Nedra Bloom