The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2005 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The precollegiate education spending figures do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
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Alabama students will be in school an extra five days during the 2006-07 school year, and the state’s teachers will earn an additional 5 percent, under the generous budget the state legislature passed in its recent session.
Lawmakers approved both changes in the $4 billion spending plan for fiscal 2007, a 14 percent increase over fiscal 2006. The number of school days will increase from 175 to 180, and the average teacher will receive a raise of about $1,900 under the plan.
The Democratic-controlled legislature enacted the budget by overriding the veto of Gov. Bob Riley, a Republican, who proposed $3.7 billion for K-12 schools in his budget. He said the legislature’s bill doesn’t fully replenish the state’s rainy-day fund. Without money in reserve, the state is not able to guarantee that the new school funding levels will continue, he said.
At the same time lawmakers provided a hefty increase in the K-12 budget, they also imposed new fiscal accountability on school districts.
Under a new law, districts must make all annual budget and monthly financial reports available on the Internet, and must manage their cash flows to maintain a balance equal to one month of spending.
Lawmakers also revoked a statute that prohibited students from using cellphones while on school property. Starting July 1, local school boards will set their own cellphone policies.
A version of this article appeared in the June 14, 2006 edition of Education Week