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Alabama Considers Spending Education Budget on Unrelated Needs

State lawmakers would spend some of The Education Trust Fund’s money on the Mobile Airport Authority, the Port of Alabama, hydroelectric and EV workforce training and more.

(TNS) — Alabama lawmakers are about to consider spending a lot of the state’s education funding on things that aren’t exactly classrooms and teachers.

Provided legislators pass the new budget, a massive package proposed by Gov. Kay Ivey includes money to make up for the World Games in Birmingham and to shift the airport in Mobile.

The Education Trust Fund, which contains revenue from different state tax programs, supports state K-12 schools, colleges and other educational programs. The state has a record $8.8 billion in the ETF to allocate.

Additionally, lawmakers need to spend an unexpected $2.8 billion in surplus receipts. Ivey’s proposal includes money for clear education programs, as well as a variety of multi-million dollar allocations for “economic development.”

Rep. Danny Garrett (R- Trussville), who chairs the House budget committee, said lawmakers received the budget from Ivey’s office. He said he has no further insight on what some of the items mean.

“You probably have a lot of the same questions we have,” he said during a call with

The proposed ETF supplemental budget includes:

  • $31 million to the Mobile Airport Authority “to relocate commercial airline operations to the Mobile Downtown Airport for economic development purposes”
  • $25 million for the Port of Alabama “for economic development and coal loading/unloading equipment”
  • $25 million to the Montgomery County Commission “for economic development”
  • $12 million to the Lauderdale County Commission “for a hydroelectric workforce training center”
  • $30 million for “an AIDT electric vehicle workforce training center”
  • $5 million to be “expended for the World Games”
  • $10 million to “create and fund the Alabama Site Development Fund,” which will be managed by the State Industrial Development Authority and “expended to provide grants for the assessment of sites and the subsequent development of sites.”

Sen. Arthur Orr (R- Decatur), who chairs the Ways and Means Education Committee on the Senate side, said he’s asking for further information as well.

“There are a myriad of items in there, of which I’m not familiar or aware, I have no knowledge of,” Orr said in a call with, adding that he addressed anyone who does know more while the Senate was in session on March 22.

“They need to be in touch with my office pronto to come sit down and explain what they are and who they are and what the expenditures are.”

He said Ivey’s office makes the budget — “it’s their creature,” he said.

Ivey’s Director of Finance and Senior Advisor Bill Poole did not answer additional questions about the proposed budget at the time of publishing.

The proposed expended funds for the World Games comes after World Games CEO Nick Sellers said in a statement that corporate partners were helping with “remaining obligations.”

“We’ve made substantial progress over the past few weeks in honoring all outstanding commitments. And we continue to work with our corporate partners to help us close out the remaining obligations,” Sellers’ statement read.

Additionally, the Jefferson County Commission approved $4 million in remaining American Rescue Plan Act funds to assist with the $14 million deficit the World Games left behind.

Proposed funding for the Mobile Airport Authority comes as officials continue to work on a new terminal, moving from west Mobile to downtown, closer to the Port of Mobile.

The $2.8 billion supplemental proposal and the regular budget will have to go through lawmakers for approval.

©2023 Advance Local Media LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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