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Final Legislative Update

FY20 Budget Review

Click here for FY20 ENACTED Spreadsheet

The following are the highlights of the FY20 $7.1 billion education budget signed into law. The $7.1 billion budget is the largest in Alabama history, but if adjusted for inflation, does not restore the money put into schools in 2008, before the recession.

ACT#2019-399 (SB192 by Orr) Public education employee four percent pay raise. Effective June 6, 2019.

ACT#2019-403 (SB199 by Orr) Education Budget. Effective October 1, 2019  

The FY20 Budget provides the following:

  • 4 percent pay raise for education employees

  • $26.8 million increase for Pre-K

  • Dual Enrollment $1 million increase

  • $27.8 million increase for Transportation

    • Funds fleet renewal at $8,326 per bus

  • Current Units: $2 million increase

  • School Nurses: $1 million increase

  • NBCT: $300,000 increase

  • Technology Coordinators: $1 million increase

  • Jobs for Alabama Graduates (JAG): $500,000 increase

  • Divisors lowered in grades 4-6 from 21.03 to 20.43

  • Library Enhancement received a one-time $6 million appropriation.

Supercomputer Authority: $3.8 million increase will allow public schools and public libraries who wish to offer broadband services and wi-fi to provide services.

Foundation Program (all increases from FY19)

  • Textbooks $75/ADM

  • Teacher Materials $600/unit

  • Technology $350/unit

  • Professional Development $100/unit

  • Library Enhancement $157.72/unit

New Funding

  • CLAS Certified Instructional Leader (CIL) received our full request of $548,000.

  • Robotics Grant Program – Increased $350,000 from FY19 - The $700,000 appropriation shall be expended to provide grants of not more than $1,500 per school to support robotics programs. Up to $100,000 of the appropriation shall be used to provide grants to elementary robotics programs. The State Department of Education shall notify in writing all school systems, by July 1, 2019, of the availability of funding for elementary, middle and high school robotics programs. The notification shall include the grant application process and the amount of funding available to each school. No funding will be available until October 1, 2019.

  • Bullying Prevention Pilot Project - $1 million – State Superintendent shall distribute grants to local education agencies after the LEA submits a grant application seeking to develop and implement evidence-based practices to promote a school environment free of harassment, intimidation, violence, and threats of violence. The first grant shall be to Birmingham City Board of Education.

ACT#2019-375 (SB195 by Orr) Supplemental Appropriation – Money to SDE, Department of Rehabilitation Services, Public Library Service, Alabama Building Renovation Finance Authority, Lieutenant Governors Workforce Commission, Alabama Community College System for dual enrollment program, Alabama Board of Nursing Trust Fund. Effective June 4, 2019

ACT#2019-383 (SB196 by Orr) Advancement and Technology Supplemental Appropriation - $73.6 million to higher ed and $198 million to K-12. K-12 amounts are listed out in the bill and funding is by ADM by formula.  The funds have to be authorized by the State Superintendent of Education and can be used for: repairs and deferred maintenance; classroom instructional support; insurance for facilities; transportation; acquisition/purchase of education technology or school security. Effective June 5, 2019Memo from Dr. Mackey

Enacted Legislation

This list includes only bills of interest to CLAS relating to education.

  • ACT #2019-233 (HB41 by Stringer) Stringer-Drummond Vaping Act - Requires the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to regular the retail sales of alternative nicotine devices like sales of tobacco products, prohibits the sale or transfer of alternative nicotine products to any person under the age of 19; prohibits advertising within 1,000 feet of any public or private K-12 school or public playground; beginning January 1, 2020, a county may not issue a license to conduct business as a specialty retailer of electronic nicotine systems if the business is located within 1,000 feet of schools, child care center, churches, and other facilities; prevents alternative nicotine products or electronic nicotine delivery systems from advertisingproducts as tobacco cessation devices, as a healthy alternative to smoking, or as being available in a variety of flavors except for tobacco, mint, and menthol; retailers must obtain a tobacco permit, and must post warning signs in their stores regarding the dangers of nicotine use and potential risks associated with vaping. Effective August 1, 2019

  • ACT#2019-241 (HB339 Ledbetter) Pledge of Allegiance - Requires that the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag be conducted at the beginning of each school day in the public K-12 schools. Effective August 1, 2019

  • ACT #2019-281 (HB291 by Garrett) Alabama Released Time Credit Act - Authorizes local boards of education to allow released time for student participation in religious instruction in an elective course for purpose of satisfying certain curriculum requirements in public schools. The sponsoring entity assumes liability for the student who is excused for released time, and transportation may not be arranged, coordinated, or provided for by public school personnel. Effective August 1, 2019

  • ACT #2019-316 (HB21 by Baker) Partial Lump Sum Option - Provides a fifth option at retirement; allows a member to take up to 2 years of his or her benefit in a one-time partial lump sum distribution in exchange for a reduced lifetime monthly distribution. The bill has no cost to the state. This option will become available to all TRS members who have a retirement date on or after October 1, 2019. Effective Date May 23, 2019.

  • ACT#2019-326 (HB400 by Shedd) Broadband Using Existing Electric Easement - Allow electric utility companies to offer high-speed internet to rural communities by way of their existing power networks. Effective August 1, 2019

  • ACT#2019-327 (SB90 by Scofield) Broadband - Expands an existing grant program for broadband providers in rural communities. Uses a $20M ETF to fund ADECA grants for broadband projects. Effective May 30, 2019

  • ACT #2019-364 (HB506 by Estes) Emergency Certification - Teaching certificates, length of time for which emergency certificate is valid is extended from one year to two years. Effective August 1, 2019 

  • ACT #2019-382 (HB183 by Scott) SSUT Updates - Relating to simplified sellers use tax; to update the amnesty and class action provisions for eligible seller and to clarify transactions for which simplified sellers use tax cannot be collected and remitted. Effective May 30, 2019

  • ACT #2019-388 (HB159 by Lee) Bathroom Bill - This bill was amended to include private schools and to change “toilets” to “plumbing fixtures” giving local schools some flexibility through the plumbing code. The amended bill would decrease the costs of renovation or construction of such stadiums by an undetermined amount dependent upon the difference in (1) cost between the installation of the restroom fixtures required by the bill, and (2) the cost of the additional fixtures otherwise required by the International Building and Plumbing Codes.Effective May 28, 2019

  • ACT #2019-389 (HB216 by Faulkner) Computer Science – Phases in the requirement that public K-12 schools to offer computer science courses.Effective September 1, 2019

  • ACT #2019-447 (HB349 by Collins) Age of Majority - Makes current law consistent with how 18 or 19- year old are classified as a minor or adult. For K-12, it would require that if a child under 19 years of age is on track to graduate, a public school may not deny admission to the student. Effective September 1, 2019

  • ACT #2019-456 (HB32 by Boyd) Kyle Graddy Act - Allows the possession and self-administration of single dose auto injectable epinephrine by students pm K-12 school campuses. Effective June 7, 2019

  • ACT#2019-504 (SB5 by Allen) Athlete Agents – Allows certain athlete agents registered in this state to pay certain expenses of a student athlete or the family of the athlete prior to signing an agency contract with the agent. Effective June 10, 2019

  • ACT #2019-506 (SB295 by Orr)Alabama Industry Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship Program Act - Provides incentives to employers who hire apprentices; to offer a nationally recognized state apprenticeship credential. Relating to the Apprenticeship Tax Credit Act of 2016; to increase the per capita apprenticeship tax. Effective September 1, 2019

  • ACT #2019-508 (SB14 by Melson) Bible Elective Courses - The bill allows public schools to offer elective courses focusing on the study of the Bible and religious history in grades six to 12; to allow public schools to display artifacts, monuments, symbols, and texts related to the study of the Bible and religious history if displaying these items is appropriate to the overall educational purpose of the course; and to require the State Board of Education to adopt rules and policies to implement the requirements of the bill.Effective September 1, 2019

  • ACT #2019-510 (SB398 by Marsh) Consult Minority Caucus - Requires the Governor to consult with all minority caucuses when appointing members to the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education. The effective date is contingent upon ratification of the constitutional amendment to abolish the elected state school board and replace it with a nine-member commission appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate.

  • ACT #2019-523 (HB388 by Collins) Alabama Literacy Act - The legislation will require third graders to meet reading benchmarks before moving to fourth grade. The bill also spells out initiatives, such as requiring regional reading specialists to work with struggling students, to boost test scores. Effective September 1, 2019

  • ACT #2019-524 (HB462 by Easterbrook) Career Tech Facilities Authorizes a local board of education to use any available facility for career technical classes upon a finding that the available facility is better suited than those currently being used. Effective June 10, 2019

  • ACT #2019-526 (HB566 by Kitchens) Donate Surplus Food - Allows local boards of education to (1) donate surplus, non-expired food to certain charitable organizations; (2) store and distribute donated food; and (3) adopt a policy allowing donated food to be served at no-cost to certain students. This bill also requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules as necessary to implement these provisions. Effective September 1, 2019

  • ACT #2019-527 (HB570 by Collins) Apprenticeships - As introduced and amended, this bill would increase the administrative obligations of state licensing authorities by requiring these authorities to grant occupational licenses to certain applicants that complete an apprenticeship program. Effective September 1, 2019

  • ACT #2019-532 (HB209 by Pettus) SRO Qualifications - Allows a person who was law enforcement officer and retired in good standings from a federal, state, and or local law enforcement agency with at 20 years of law enforcement be hired as school security guards or school resource officers. Effective September 1, 2019

  • ACT #2019-533 (HB385 by Robertson) Designate Code Red as School Lockdown This bill is to update the current “School Safety Plan” law that was passed several years ago but does not change the law. This bill will simply clarify language and update the law with newer terminology to help better communicate the security status of a school during an unusual or emergency situation. HB385 will replace the term “School Safety Plan” with the term “Emergency Operations Plan.” Each school is already required to have a “School Safety Plan.” Replaces the current term “Code Red Drills” with “Lockdown” plan/drills. Also, will add requirements for all schools to begin to standardize and use the Security Threat Level Terms approved by the State Superintendent last summer (Memo on June 27, 2018). The terms were created by the Department of Education’s Safe School Task Force. Many schools have already received training referencing these terms and how to use them and many school districts are already using them as part of their Emergency Operation Plans. Effective June 10, 2019

  • Bill That Goes to Ballot:

  • State School Board Governance (SB397 Marsh)A constitutional amendmentAllows voters to decide on the March 2020 ballot whether they want to abolish the elected state school board and replace it with a nine-member commission. Members would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Alabama Senate. Requires the Secretary of Elementary and Secondary education to be appointed by the commission and confirmed by the Senate.  In addition to repealing Common Core, the board would have to develop teacher certification, professional assessment and accountability standards.

    Governor Ivey held a news conference June 11 to build support for the proposed constitutional amendment, kicking off her “Take the Lead, Alabama” campaign supporting the constitutional amendment.

This session CLAS increased our advocacy efforts. We hosted four Legislative Hill Days and our members responded to multiple action alerts. Thank you to everyone who participated in the CLAS Legislative Hill Days and contacted their legislators advocating for public education bills. We hope to continue offering more opportunities for members to engage with their elected officials and enhance the voices of Alabama’s public school administrators.

The 2020 Regular Session will begin February 4. Many of the issues which failed this session will likely return. While we are wait for the next session to begin, I encourage you to stay in contact with your local legislators relaying your concerns, sharing your stories, and promoting the positive things going on in public education.  

As always it has been a pleasure to serve you during this session and I look forward to working with all of you throughout the year as we increase our advocacy footprint throughout the state of Alabama.

Please contact us if you need additional information or have questions about any of the bills listed in this report.

Susie Ellison
CLAS Legislative and Communications Coordinator