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August 2012 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Kids are back in school all across the state, and education news tops the headlines coming out of the capital.

  • 75 Percent of Schools Made Adequate Progress: The state Department of Education recently announced that Alabama’s schools and systems achieved adequate yearly progress. The “adequate yearly progress” standards measure how well schools are moving toward federal law’s goal of having all students proficient in math and science by 2014. Of its 1,365 schools, 342 failed to make adequate progress, down from 377 the year before. Only 26 of the state’s systems failed to make progress, down from 49 the year before. State School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice said the numbers are headed in the right direction and described the overall scores as “very encouraging.”
  • Education Trust Fund Revenue on Track: TState Budget Director Bill Newton recently announced that education trust receipts are on target to meet spending for the current fiscal year, which ends September 30. He also predicted the General Fund, the major source of state money for non-education agencies such as prisons, Medicaid and Human Resources, should collect enough revenues to meet its trimmed spending target for the year without further cuts.  Finance officials say the growth in education revenue is currently at 5.9 percent. A growth rate of 5.6 percent for the year is needed to support appropriations for the year. The General Fund revenue grew by 18.5 percent in the current year, which factors in a $266.4 million windfall from the Alabama Trust Fund. The governor also trimmed General Fund obligations for the current year by prorating budgets 10.6 percent.
  • Search for Leader of Two-Year Colleges Underway: The state Board of Education recently voted unanimously to interview eight persons recommended by a consultant (who reviewed 29 applications) for the head of the state’s two-year college system. Governor Robert Bentley, who chairs the school board, said the board will conduct the interviews over a two-day period later this month and then invite three back for a second interview in mid-September. The previous chancellor made $289,000 annually, but the board has not decided what to offer the next chancellor. All of the interviews will be held in Montgomery and are open to the public.

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