Governor Bentley has made it clear that education is a top priority during this legislative session. In his State of the State Address the governor said he supports a two percent pay raise for teachers but that's much lower than what the Alabama Education Association wants.
"We have to put food on the tables as well. They have families to feed, mortgages to pay, cars to pay for and they are taking care of our most prized commodity, our children," said Rhonda Hicks, Alabama Education Association UniServ District 26 Director.
She says compared to the rest of the nation, Alabama teachers aren't paid nearly enough. That's why the AEA is asking the legislature for a six percent pay increase.
"Six percent would hopefully bring us back up to a standard of where we needed to be based on cuts that have been taken in the past," Hicks said.
But last night Governor Bentley told Alabamians that he supports a two percent increase and with a tight budget again this year he says a raise will only be possible if the funds are there--which could mean there could be no raise at all. However, Hicks believes because it's an election year, a small pay increase will be given.
"Educators will probably be thrown a tidbit to hopefully have them forget what has been taken from them over the last several years so I imagine we will see some type of raise or something done for education," Hicks said.
But she says even if there is a raise, educators may not benefit from one at all. Hicks says if the insurance plans change then that could counteract any pay hike.
Carolyn Brewster is a multimedia journalist at WDHN News Email her at Carolyn@WDHNcom