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December 2017 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

More good news is making headlines this month, a gift just in time for the holidays.

  • State Budgets Will Have More Money: State Finance Director Clinton Carter recently said he expects each of the budgets to have about $200 million more this year. Carter said the state’s economy is showing signs of recovery after the longest and most prolonged recession in modern history. The unemployment rate is at a historic low, at about 3.6 percent. Carter says attrition among state employees, belt-tightening and careful financial management have Alabama in solid financial condition. While other states have experienced a downgrade in their credit rating, Alabama has avoided credit troubles. The state’s resiliency is credited to the Alabama Trust Fund, which receives money from the oil and gas leases and most recently from British Petroleum settlement. The financial gains could be offset by growing expenses in the prison system and Medicaid.
  • Alabama’s 2016 Graduation Rate Ranks 16th in Nation: According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Alabama’s overall high school graduation rate of 87.1 percent for the class of 2016 ranks 16th in the nation. The graduation rate for the country as a whole for the class of 2016 hit a record high of 84.1 percent, increasing from 83.2 percent for the class of 2015. The federal graduation rate is calculated as the percentage of students who graduate four years after entering high school as a ninth grader.
  • Gov. Ivey Announces $1.5 million Grant for Early Education: Governor Kay Ivey recently announced that Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Satsuma will be among the first to benefit from a grant funding a new early childhood education program. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation awarded the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education a $1.5 million grant to allow for further expansion of the Pre Through 3 initiative for early learning. Pre Through 3 is in its first year as a pilot program, serving 35 classrooms in eight systems across the state.

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