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State BOE Approves FY21 Budget Request

11-Oct-2019

The Alabama State Board of Education worked its way through a lengthy meeting agenda Thursday, approving numerous resolutions honoring educators named as Presidential Award for Excellence finalists and Alabama Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year. Several resolutions proclaiming various education-related observances for the month of October also were approved, including a resolution in recognition of Dyslexia Awareness Month, which drew a large contingency of parents and students to Thursday’s meeting.

The board unanimously approved the department’s FY21 budget request, which includes an increase of more than $300 million over last year’s budget. Much of the request for additional funding is spread among the following line items:

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey pointed out the increases being requested for divisors, instructional supplies and the retirement program are grouped together in the line item for foundation program expenses. He also called the board’s attention to a line item requesting additional funding for a new stipend program for certified language therapists, explaining the amount is equal to the stipend provided to National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT).

Mackey stressed the budget request process is still in its early stages, moving next to the executive budget office before the governor’s office and legislative leadership work together on the version that will go before lawmakers early next year.

Dr. Cynthia McCarty (District 6) applauded the department for its work on the FY21 budget request, expressing appreciation for increases to programs such as LETRS training, NBCT, summer OGAP training for math and science educators, career tech and more. Dr. Yvette Richardson (District 4) thanked Mackey for breaking out the special education budget request in an easy-to-understand manner.

The board also approved the intent to adopt a new Alabama Administrative Code rule pertaining to a legislative school performance recognition program. This year, the legislature approved $250,000 to be disbursed to schools with top scores and schools with the most improvement on the State Report Card.

Other board action included approval of updated accountability standards for regional in-service centers, the selection of Jackie Ziegler (District 1) to serve as a delegate for the Alabama Association of School Boards’ upcoming convention and delegate assembly and selection of McCarty to serve on the Computer Science Education Task Force.

Mackey announced in his superintendent’s report that State Report Cards will be released to the public October 18.

The board work session following Thursday’s meeting included several updates from ALSDE staff:

The board also received an update on the health and physical education textbook recommendations that will come up for a vote at the next board meeting.

In other news, Mackey informed the board that the Boston-based firm, Public Consulting Group, has secured a contract to conduct a review of the department, mandated by the state legislature, to determine how the ALSDE’s structure compares to that of top-performing states in the nation. Representatives from the firm will conduct in-person interviews in November with board members, department staff and leadership. The firm will operate out of the Board of Public Examiners office, and Deputy State Superintendent Andy Craig will serve as the point person.

The meeting ended with Governor Kay Ivey’s education policy adviser, Nick Moore, distributing copies of the instrument the board will use to conduct Mackey’s annual performance evaluation to be completed by the November board meeting.

Next State Board Meeting and Work Session

The board will hold its next meeting November 14 in Montgomery at 10 a.m., followed by a work session. The board also will hold a retreat that afternoon at the office of School Superintendents of Alabama.