City, county teachers losing jobs
Local school administrators are not getting to look forward to the last days of school as they normally would.
With the school year ending on Friday for county schools and only one week to go in the Russellville system, administrators are still not certain what the future holds.
The state Senate adjourned the 2008 legislative session Monday without passing next fiscal year's education budget. Lawmakers could not reach an agreement Monday on the budget which stalled over disputes on the amount of money going to higher education.
What killed the budget was an extra $25 million for higher education in an overall budget of $6.4 billion. Higher education did not like the potential of losing the extra $25 million and wanted an absolute guarantee.
Gov. Bob Riley said he was prepared to make the extra $25 million a "first tier" conditional appropriation, meaning it would be released first if money was available next fiscal year
Riley said Tuesday that he may call the Alabama Legislature into special session in the coming days.
"There's a distinct possibility that they'll be back before June," Riley told the Associated Press.
The House of Representatives had already passed the budget.
Without knowing what the budget will be like for the next school year, school officials will have to make cuts to non-tenured teachers.
"It leaves us in limbo," said Franklin County schools Superintendent Bill Moss. "You don't know what to expect."
Moss said the system had already planned to give pink slips to 16 teachers based on the proposed budget, which was already tight.
What makes the situation even more difficult is that pink slips have to be given before the last day of school, which is Friday for county schools.
"When you are dealing with the last day of school and you don't know what's going to happen, it's just not a pleasant situation to be in," said Moss, who will be retiring as of Dec. 31.
According to the Associated Press, Alabama Education Association Executive Secretary Paul Hubbert estimates that 8,000-9,000 of the 47,000 public school teachers could lose their jobs starting this week because the budget was not passed.
"It means that this week many boards of education will be laying off teachers," Hubbert said.
Russellville city schools Superintendent Dr. Wayne Ray spent most of the day Monday in Montgomery lobbying for the budget to be passed.
"It leaves us out there not knowing what to expect," Ray said.
The city was already looking at a challenging year ahead due to Riley's smaller proposed budget, but now officials do not know what lies ahead.
"There are some things we will have to deal with and work through," Ray said.