Alabama teachers on edge after national walkout despite budget increase
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) —
Teacher protests in Oklahoma and Kentucky are making an impact across the country. Lawmakers in Alabama have given teachers in this state a financial shot in the arm, more than $6 billion for education.
It's the largest education budget in a decade, but will this be enough to prevent our teachers from taking to the streets? The Director of the Alabama Education Association said he's never seen anything like this in his seven years in charge, but just because no one is talking about this walkout happening today, doesn't mean the idea is off the table.
“They’re over worked, they’re under paid and the moral is at an all-time low,” said Jesse McDaniel, Director for the Mobile County Alabama Education Association.
Teacher walkouts are becoming more and more common around the nation. Like the most recent one in Oklahoma, NBC 15 News asked if this could be in Alabama eventually.
“Even if it’s not happening today, it doesn’t mean that something similar could not happen in the future,” said McDaniel.
This is also timely for the big $6.63 billion dollar budget Governor Kay Ivey signed off on Monday, but McDaniel says he’s not surprised.
“Especially in election year, you try to see them try to give a pay raise to make sure the waters stay as calm as possible.”
This budget will give teachers a 2.5 percent raise in the 2019 fiscal year.
“And if you talk with anybody that works for a public school system, they will tell you that two and a half percent is not going to cut it. They don’t mind asking our educators to do more every year, so we’re going to ask for more when it comes to salaries,” said McDaniel.
The 2.5 percent raise will go into effect in October, and he's pushing for another raise next year. As for a potential walkout, there is one stumbling block: McDaniel says a so-called strike is illegal in Alabama.
NBC 15 News talked with a number of local teachers to take their temperature on a potential walkout. All supported it but feared going on camera to express their frustrations.