Budget Signed, No Pay Increase for Teachers - FOX 54 WZDX – Huntsville News, Weather and Sports

Budget Signed, No Pay Increase for Teachers

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DECATUR, AL (WZDX) - On Friday, Governor Robert Bentley approved the Education Trust Fund Budget for fiscal year 2015, but it doesn't include the two percent teacher pay raise he and teachers wanted.

Bentley signed the $5.9 Billion budget Friday morning in Montgomery. He said he could only pass the budget the state congress presented him.

"I signed the budget that was presented to me. But that does not mean that we're not going to continue to push for a two percent raise for our teachers and our support personnel. And as money comes in over the next few months, we will each month look to see what's available, and we will make a decision down the road as to whether or not we call a special session dealing with that two percent pay raise" said Bentley.

But until that happens, teachers around the state will have to make do without a bump in pay.

"I'm not sure any teacher is in the business for the money," said Decatur High School's Business Education teacher Lee Lott.

Lott has been teaching in the Decatur City School System for more than 30 years. As she nears retirement, her paycheck seems to be shrinking because of extra deductions.

"My salary is actually less now than what it was five years ago. My bring-home pay is less because of the way things have happened," said Lott.

And her paycheck won't be increasing any time soon.

"I wish we had gotten a raise but at this point we didn't," said Lott.

"A lot of teachers may be disappointed because there is no raise in it but I would urge them that they did address the benefits piece with their insurance so at least that's in place," said State Superintendent Tommy Bice.

Those benefits will cover the increase in health insurance. Lott says she's glad that won't continue to eat away at her paycheck.

"I am very pleased that they did fund the full $81 a month for teachers for their medical insurance," said Lott.

But Lott's focus is on the needs of her students. She says she could forgo a raise if the state would pick up the money she spends on outfitting her students with supplies. Some years, that's as much as $2,500.

"If I got that money replaced back for the betterment of my students, I would get a raise," said Lott.

Lott plans to continue putting the needs of her students first and hopes that things will change soon.

"Raises are nice but what we do for our students is the most important," said Lott.

Bice said he's glad the budget was approved so he can start planning for the next school year.


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