Category: Education

55 New Classrooms Added to State’s Award-Winning Pre-K Program

MONTGOMERY — Fifty-five new pre-K classrooms will be added in 25 counties this fall, Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education said Tuesday.

These additional classrooms expand access to the state’s award-winning First Class Pre-K program and are a result of the Legislature recently appropriating an additional $6 million to the department for the 2021 fiscal year. Read more.

BirminghamWatch looked more deeply at Alabama’s pre-K program in a project last year:

First Class in More Than Name Only: Why Alabama’s Preschool Program Is Best in the Country on National Standards

New Report Recommends Overhaul of State Education Department

The Alabama State Board of Education and Alabama Department of Education will spend the next two months creating a strategic plan to better organize the department and improve Alabama’s K-12 education system.

The plan is the result of a recently released 168-page report that recommends a major overhaul and shift of operations within ALSDE.

Lawmakers approved an appropriation of $750,000 in last year’s education trust fund budget to conduct this evaluation by a Boston-based consultant.

An author of the report told board members the report is centered on the idea of the ALSDE taking the lead on education reform in the state. Read more.

House Committee Approves $7.2 Billion Education Budget

A House committee on Tuesday approved a $7.2 billion 2021 education budget, a first critical step in funding the state’s public schools, community colleges and universities.

The proposed 2021 Education Trust Fund contains an increase of about $91 million from the 2020 fiscal year budget, but less than the $411 million increase Gov. Kay Ivey proposed before the coronavirus pandemic altered state revenues.
Read more.

Change Proposed in State Funding for Students in Growing School Systems

A bill in the Alabama Senate would change the per-student funding model for growing K-12 schools, taking some burden off of local systems to pay for additional students, advocates say.

Currently, systems receive a per-pupil allocation from the state based on prior year enrollments.

Senate Bill 316 would change the funding formula to account for enrollment increases, projecting growth based on the previous two years’ enrollment growth.
Read more.

Senate Passes $1.25 Billion Bond Issue for Schools

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama State Senate on Monday passed legislation to authorize a $1.25 billion bond issue to fund school construction and other capital improvement projects.

Senate Bill 242 passed 29-0 in the Senate and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. First proposed by Gov. Kay Ivey in her State of the State address, the bond issue would help K-12 schools and state colleges pay for capital improvements, from construction projects to technology upgrades. Read more.

Alabama First Class Pre-K Earns High Mark, Increases Enrollment

Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program was named the country’s highest-quality state pre-kindergarten program for the 14th year in a row, Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Wednesday.

“Alabama First Class Pre-K is once again proving to be successful in providing a solid foundation for our youngest learners to be successful in school and life,” Ivey said in a prepared statement. “From our state’s historic investment in pre-K to (Secretary of Early Childhood Education) Jeana Ross’s unmatched leadership, Alabama is setting the standard for excellence in early childhood education around the country. We can all be proud that Alabama continues to lead the nation in high-quality early childhood education.”
Read more.

Digital Resource Portal Helps Educators, Parents and Students During Pandemic

The statewide closure of schools has prompted educators to find ways to add to their teaching capabilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of that effort, two companies worked in partnership last month to create a digital resource portal for Alabama educators, parents and students from pre-kindergarten through high school.

Publishers’ Warehouse, in partnership with EBSCO Information Services, created EBSCOed to pull together online and published resources purchased by the state.
Read more.

Birmingham Superintendent Lisa Herring Stepping Down to Lead Atlanta Public Schools

Birmingham school Superintendent Lisa Herring is leaving to become superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. She is expected to remain head of Birmingham City Schools through the end of May, at which point she will return to her home state of Georgia.

The Birmingham school system announced Tuesday Herring has been named the “sole finalist” for the post in Atlanta.
Read more.