MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — On Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey delivered her State of the State address at the state capitol.
Most lawmakers are on board with Ivey’s plan — focusing most on education and a rebate of $400 to $800 individuals or families could see from pandemic relief funds.
Ivey called it a playbook for success, the state’s game plan to give tax cuts to businesses and potentially more money back in residents’ wallets.
Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton suggests more access to healthcare and reinvesting back into public school systems instead of charter options with Ivey’s school choice.
“When we come down to the rebates, we could be investing in other things because people are hurting by a lot of other things also,” Singleton said. “I don’t know if there is a magic wand a charter school has that says they are the answer. I do know that public schools is the common denominator where every child has a chance. Every child may not be able to go to a charter.”
Newly elected state auditor Andrew Sorrell said school choice like the governor laid out would make it happen.
“We’ve tried a lot of things to fix education in Alabama, but I think the thing that’s going to finally do it is provide more options for their children,” Sorrell said.
Ivey is looking to require students to complete kindergarten and called on lawmakers Tuesday night for legislation to make sure kids are ready for first grade. She is also looking to no longer accept the existence of failing elementary schools.
Representative Danny Garrett said it is crucial to start in areas that are behind within the education spectrum – like reading and math.
“That’s why we have to be very careful that we wisely spend our education dollars and we strategically spend those dollars in the areas that will make the most impact,” Garrett said.
Singleton said they’re ready to head to a special session that Ivey called for to start on Wednesday.
“I thought the governor was really aggressive and we just have to move forward with the state of Alabama,” Singleton said. “We can make the best of whatever we have.”
Sorrell said it is important to have more access to healthcare. He said he is looking forward to the governor’s plans for telehealth and more access to healthcare in rural parts of the state.
The special session will start Wednesday in Montgomery, looking at what to do with the $1 billion of American Rescue Plan Act funds that remain.