State Education Superintendent makes education recommendations

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - As Alabama schools face a second year of major cuts, State Education Superintendent Joe Morton says he will make major recommendations to keep education thriving.  One proposal: that the legislature put more state funding towards k-12 education beginning next fiscal year. A second recommendation calls for public employees to pay more for their health insurance.  Morton says in the last 25 years, teachers' salaries have gone up, but the amount they pay for insurance hasn't increased for single plans...and it's only increased 39-dollars for family plans. "So the state, when it gets tax revenues, is taking one third off the table and it's immediately not going to textbook or supplies, but fringe benefits of employees," Morton told state school board members at a meeting in Montgomery Thursday.

His proposals got mixed reviews.  Board member Stephanie Bell says she supports the ideas, even though she knows teachers unions may not do so.  "I'm not looking at who we're going to fight.  I'm looking at what is in the best interest of the tax payer and the people involved," Bell said after the meeting.  Mary Bruce Ogles is assistant executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association which is the state teacher union. She says she understands Morton's concerns.  "However, I think we have to look carefully at any proposal that may adversely affect employees."

Morton says he will make an official recommendation on his proposals at the November state school board meeting.