Aid Cut Threatens Alabama Schools

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Facing a possible shortfall in state revenues for education, Superintendent of Education Wayne Teague of Alabama has warned school districts to budget conservatively and prepare for a prorated cut in state aid.

Mr. Teague and Gov. George Wallace, a Democrat, also recently announced that they would support legislation to create a state lottery, which could increase funds for education. Alvin Holmes, a Democratic state representative from Montgomery, has introduced legislation that would establish a lottery and earmark at least one-fourth of the proceeds for education.

Governor Wallace has opposed legalized gambling in the past, but he said he would support the lottery if the voters approved it.

Aides to Mr. Teague said he fears the state may have to prorate its school aid this year because revenues have fallen short of projected levels.

Alabama passed its largest education budget ever earlier this year, including more than $1 billion for grades K-12--a 20 percent increase over the previous year, according to Richard McBride, the director of legislative relations and research for the state education department.

Included was a second straight8pay raise of 15 percent for teachers, as the state moves toward implementing a career-ladder program in 1987.

The legislature also approved an increase of more than 25 percent in spending for higher education, Mr. McBride said.

"There's not any question but that the budget the legislature passed for 1985-86 pushed the outer limits of budget resources," he said.

The state's education trust fund, which supports both precollegiate and higher education, derives its revenues primarily from state sales and income taxes. As a result, officials said, it is highly sensitive to fluctuations in the economy.


Vol. 05, Issue 06

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