Committee approves teacher raise, prekindergarten expansion
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Teachers and school employees could get a 2.5 percent pay raise later this year, under legislation approved Wednesday by the House education budget committee.
The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved the raise, which is popular with members of both parties, with little discussion. Committee members also approved an education budget that contains a $20 million expansion of the state’s prekindergarten program.
“This is a very positive budget for education across the board on every level,” said Ways and Means Chairman Bill Poole.
Education employees at both public K-12 schools and two-year postsecondary institutions would receive the proposed raise. Educators last received a cost-of-living adjustment in 2016.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the raise and education budget next week.
Education funding has rebounded to prerecession levels, giving lawmakers an additional $200 million to spend in the proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
The proposed budget would also fund an expansion of the state’s voluntary prekindergarten program. Currently, about 28 percent of eligible 4-year-olds attend.