Lawmakers debate education budget

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - Alabama lawmakers are debating the education budget on Tuesday.
The bare bones budget saves most teachers' jobs. It would also pay for the state's reading initiative.
On the downside, the plan would cut money for new text books and increase costs for health insurance for education employees.
Also on the agenda for Tuesday, state lawmakers say they want to cut the state's annual dropout rate, hoping to push for more children to stay in school.

"I used to be under the impression that they would come to their senses after dropping out and get a GED and get on with their lives. That is not the case. In many cases, these kids end up involved in crime, they get pregnant and they're not able to get a job because they do not have a high school diploma," says Senator Arthur Orr.
Orr is teaming up with several other state lawmakers to improve the high school dropout rates across the state.

Last august, a bill was passed that bumped up the dropout age from 16 to 17, but Orr says an average of 35-40% of high school students are still quitting school.

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