State education budget begins year in proration

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - Gov. Bob Riley said Tuesday the state education budget will begin the new fiscal year this week with a shortfall that will require immediate cuts.

In a statement to FOX6 News, Riley declared 7.5 percent proration on the fiscal 2010 education budget, which begins the new fiscal year on Thursday.

"Given the state of the economy, we've anticipated for several months now that the education budget would enter fiscal year 2010 in proration, but it's still very unfortunate and I wish it wasn't necessary," Gov. Riley said.  "Unlike the federal government, we cannot run deficits.  Revenues are not at the level necessary to avoid spending cuts.  With less revenue coming in and the escalating costs of employee health insurance, there's no way to avoid it."

Riley blamed the cuts partially on health insurance costs for education workers, which he said have skyrocketed to $1.135 billion, an increase of 72 percent since 2003.

With 7.5 percent proration, Riley said the fiscal year 2010 education budget will be $5.3 billion, down from $6.7 billion in 2008.