Elliott’s bill will help Baldwin schools get fair share of state funds
A bill introduced by Sen. Chris Elliott’s to help Baldwin County school systems receive more appropriate funding for its two school systems was recently signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey.
Baldwin County is the fastest growing county in the state over, according to data releaed by the US Cenus Bureau last summer. Fairhope, Foley, Gulf Shores and Daphne have all grown by at least 25 percent over the last 10 years.
This year, there are 6,474 students enrolled in Alabama schools across 59 different school districts that are not currently included in the Foundation Allocation program that funds Alabama’s schools.
This puts the onus on local school districts to make up for that funding deficit. But Elliott’s bill will help all growing school systems across Alabama get their fair share of funding.
“Under current law, every system is using last year’s numbers to fund this year’s student population,” Elliott said. “This puts our growing school systems at a huge disadvantage year after year, as we’ve got kids in these schools that have no state or federal funding available to cover their needs.”
State Superintendent Eric Mackey said the Alabama State Department of Education is very supportive of the bill, especially since it will not adversely affect school districts that have shrinking numbers.
“Districts in our state that already have declining enrollment numbers have enough issues to deal with,” Elliott said.
“They can continue to do what they can with what they’ve got.”
Baldwin County Schools CFO John Wilson said the change brought about by Elliott’s bill is a much-needed boost to growing school systems and will allow the addition of 25-30 classroom teachers to Baldwin County Schools, thereby reducing class sizes.’’
“Baldwin County spends millions each year in local funds to supplement what should be funded by the state, as a direct result of our rapid growth,’’ Wilson said. “Baldwin County has grown by an average of 500 students per year over the last decade which creates substantial challenges under the existing model. Under Senator Elliott’s bill, Baldwin County students will finally receive an equitable share of State Funding.”
To avoid double counting students that were included in this year’s units allocation, the bill will only fund 70 percent for the next fiscal year.
“This is a simple solution that makes sure each and every one of our children around the state are getting their fair share of education dollars,” Elliott said. “Education is the silver bullet for so many of the issues we face today, so we have to do everything we can to make certain our children are getting their needs met.”