Bentley proposes $181M transfer

Published 8:57 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

Last week, state finance director Bill Newton revealed Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposed budget, which included $181 million transferring from the education budget.

“We’re concerned about it, but one of the things we are focusing on right now in Crenshaw County is trying to be innovative and think outside the box and think about different ways to grow and expand our system. We’re trying to stay one step ahead of everything and do some things that meet our students’ needs in the 21st century,” said Boyd English, Superintendent of Crenshaw County Schools.

This proposal would move the remaining use tax as well as the insurance premium tax into the general fund. In the past, portions of the use tax have been transferred into the general fund to offset the state’s budget issues, as was the case last year.

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For schools in larger areas, the impact might not be as great, but for rural and county schools, times would be difficult.

“Any time that a government agency, whether it’s the legislative or executive branch, starts talking about dipping into the education trust fund, that’s something that brings concern,” said English.

“One of the things that I would like to highlight is that there are a lot of larger systems and city systems with tax bases that can support in times of economic uncertainty. They are protected a little bit because of their tax base. Crenshaw County and rural county schools are impacted more.”

The final decision on the transfer of these funds has not been made yet, but English is prepared to handle this issue whatever the outcome may be.

“You never know. We are at the discretion of our legislatures, but we hope that they keep in mind that they are making decisions that impact us. Public schools not only have a strong backing with tax bases and property taxes, but the county schools are also counting on them. There are some anxious times there, but we can’t just sit and rely on the governor and the legislative body, we have to try to be innovative and make sure we work in the best interest of our students,” said English.