Governor Robert Bentley has left open the possibility of calling a special legislative session later this year for teacher pay raises.
But, a local director with the teachers union, the Alabama Education Association, has doubts that will happen.
The governor said Friday morning he signed the education bill passed by the legislature even though it doesn’t have the two percent raises for teachers he wanted.
Bentley spoke to pre-kindergarten students at Kate Shepard Elementary School and talked to reporters about why he signed the education budget without a pay raise for teachers.
The governor said, “It was a good budget, other than the two percent pay raise, and I felt like that you had to weigh that against whether or not calling them back in session, you would get anything better than what we presently have. I made the judgement that we would not.”
But, Bentley said he’ll continue to push for a two percent pay raise for teachers, and didn’t rule out the possibility of calling a special legislative session for a teacher pay raise.
He said, “We’re going to watch the money as it comes in, and we’ll have to wait until probably late summer and fall to make a decision on that.”
TEACHER UNION REACTION
Also on hand at Shepard Elementary was Jessie McDaniel, a Mobile area director for the teachers union, the Alabama Education Association.
He said he came here to remind the governor that teachers deserve a pay raise. and he isn’t optimistic there will be a special session.
McDaniel said, “It appears that the tail is wagging the dog in Montgomery.”
HIGHTOWER SPEAKS ON DECISION
Republican State Senator Bill Hightower said it came to down to a choice: either give teachers a raise or fully fund health insurance.
Hightower said,”I think that most of the teachers I spoke with wanted to have the benefit increase and not pay more for their health insurance. “
McDaniel said, “The governor had made a promise in the State of she State (Address) that he was going to deliver a two percent pay raise, as well as fully fund health insurance, and that didn’t happen.