Etowah County Coroner Michael Gladden, a candidate for State House District 29, has signed the Education Funding Protection Pledge.
The pledge is a response to recent comments from some state leaders who have suggested using education dollars to pay for corporate tax incentives or combining the budgets in an attempt to shore up funding short falls in the state’s General Fund budget.
“I think every candidate for public office should sign this pledge,” said Gladden. “That some lawmakers are considering raiding the Education budget once again in an attempt to fund other things is simply unacceptable.”
House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) proposed the pledge earlier this week. The pledge states: “I pledge that I will oppose any attempt to combine the state’s General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets, as well as any attempt to reallocate funds earmarked for public education into non-education programs or agencies.”
Alabama currently has two state budgets: the Education Trust Fund, which funds all public education services from pre-K through our public universities, and the General Fund, which finances all other government services and agencies.
The state has faced tight budgets and significant funding cuts over the past four years. The legislature has borrowed $145 million each year from the Alabama Trust Fund for the last three years to balance the General Fund budget, but that money no longer will be available after the 2015 budget year.
“Revenue that is meant to go our children and our classrooms should not be taken away,” said Gladden. “Our state leads the nation in cuts to education, and I say enough is enough! I challenge my opponent to take a stand for our children and the future of education in Alabama by joining me in signing this pledge.”