Alabama Lawmaker Near to Vote on School-Bond Issue

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At the end of last week, on the last day of a special session of the Alabama legislature, lawmakers appeared likely to approve a $310-million education bond issue, at least 60 percent of which will go to elementary and secondary schools.

Also passed was a bill authorizing a 15 percent pay raise for experienced teachers to help implement the state's career ladder.

Passage of the bond issue would be a major victory for Superintendent of Education Wayne Teague, who has campaigned across the state in recent weeks to rally support for it.

The superintendent originally had asked that at least 67 percent of the bond funds be allocated for elementary and secondary schools.

The bond issue ran into last-minute4trouble on Thursday, when a group of senators lobbied to reduce the bill from $325 million to $310 million.

A group of black representatives in the House staged a filibuster against the reduced bill until 3 A.M. Friday, because $6 million of the lost funds would have gone to the state's two predominantly black universities.

Aides to Gov. George C. Wallace predicted he will sign the bill.

Legislators approved by a strong majority initial pay raises for the first phase of the state's career-ladder program. In May, lawmakers appropriated funds for the career ladder but failed to approve the bill authorizing the pay raises.

The law provides a 15 percent salary increase, effective Oct. 1 and retroactive to the beginning of the8school year, for teachers with tenure or at least five years' experience in public schools in or out of Alabama. All other teachers will receive a 5 percent increase.

Other personnel with certificates, including principals and superintendents, are included in the salary increases. Noncertified personnel will receive a minimum $1,000 pay raise.

The measure is expected to cost the state in excess of $100 million. It comes on the heels of an across-the-board salary increase of 15 percent last year. The increases will raise the average teacher salary in Alabama from $20,000 to $23,000 a year.

Lawmakers also passed a supplemental appropriation of $7.7 million to aid districts in implementing the retroactive salary increases.--lo

Vol. 05, Issue 04

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