School systems could be forced to make personnel changes next year

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Teachers from all over the state could be laid off next school year.

That's the word from State Superintendent Joe Morton.

In a budget hearing Wednesday, Morton told state lawmakers that cuts to the education budget will result in job losses in many school systems.

Dr. Morton says because of proration, K - 12 public schools are in need of more money for the next school year.

They need an extra 235 million dollars.

Dr. Morton told lawmakers they needed to find that money in their 2011 fiscal year budget.

The other option for lawmakers would be to find other funding sources to come up with the money.

If not, more than 3500 teachers across the state could be laid off.

Lawmakers will discuss this serious matter when the next session starts January 12th.

State education officials say the job losses are the worse case scenario, and they hope to avoid it. Assistant State Superintendent Craig Pouncey say classrooms in Alabama are already overcrowded.

"We are going to stop it from happening not going to allow thirty-five hundred A.E.A. members to be laid off , said Lance Hyche with the Alabama Education Association. "We will work with legislators and demand legislators and the governor to find some money to fund our schools."

Representative John Rogers says lawmakers may have to turn to attrition to save money in K-12 public schools.

Rogers says there may be federal stimulus money available for the education budget.

Governor Riley is responding to news of the possible cuts. Riley says they will work with the resources they have. "In education, in order to protect some of those programs we have, we may have to trade our buses every 11 years rather than every 10. We may have to use a text book for 5 years rather than 4," said Riley. "Those are the type things we have to do to make sure we keep the money in the classroom."

Another option being considered is increasing the percentage of state funds going to k-12 and decrease the percentage going to two and four year colleges.