Could teachers see a raise?
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
Alabama Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, is working with Gov. Robert Bentley to pass a raise for public education employees in a “middle of the road” plan between two opposing views on the matter.
Senate Bill 232, which was pending action in the state Senate’s Committee on Finance and Taxation Education as of Feb. 25, would provide for a 2-percent across-the-board raise for public education employees.
If passed during the current legislative session, the raise would go into effect beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.
In a Feb. 25 phone interview, Ward said he would “like to do more” for public education employees, but said the state’s education budget would not support it.
“Two percent, I think that’s doable for our teachers,” Ward said.
Ward said his 2-percent proposal represents the “middle ground” between a group of legislators pushing for no raise and a group pushing for a 6-percent raise.
“We only had $123 million in growth in the education fund last year, and it would cost $150 million to do a 6 percent raise,” Ward said. “There is another group that wants a zero percent raise to help pay back the rainy day fund. Mine is in the middle of those two areas.”
If the 2-percent raise passes the Alabama Legislature this year, Ward said he likely would support a “2 or 3-percent” teacher raise next year.
Ward said he expected the Committee on Finance and Taxation Education to discuss the bill the week of Feb. 24. If approved by the committee, the bill would move on to be considered by the full Senate.