Editor’s Note: This is an opinion column.
By Paul DeMarco
The Alabama Legislature is on the verge of passing one of the largest budgets to fund public education in state history. The budget passed the Alabama House of Representatives Tuesday and now heads to the Senate.
The $8.17 billion education budget will fund K-12, community schools, and universities in the state. It also has included money for classroom materials, technology, reading coaches and provides a pay raise for teachers.
Alabama is ranked as one of the worst states in the Nation for academic achievement. While this is a historic amount of money being appropriated for education, there are also millions of Federal COVID relief dollars being infused into state schools as well.
The question is will these increased dollars make a difference in some public schools?
Money alone will not solve the state’s chronic scholastic problems. However, it is not just underperforming schools that need help. Students, parents, and teachers in school systems around the Nation have struggled to do their best during the pandemic. The move by Alabama lawmakers to ensure there is additional funding for reading to assist those students who fell behind when their studies were interrupted is essential.
Yet, it will also take a coordinated effort by local school leaders to assist parents and teachers to work together to help students overcome the challenges they have faced these past two years.
Hopefully, more school funding with a collaborative approach between families and educators will benefit students who need assistance more than ever.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.