UAH lobbyist Gary Smith just sent me an email: higher education won in its pro-ration lawsuit against the State of Alabama, and pro-ration will affect all segments of public education equally. It’s disappointing that we all have to take a cut together, but better than we hang together, or we will surely hang separately. Heh, this was worth almost getting arrested over!
I’ve included Gary’s email so you can see it with your own eyes.
UPDATE: 15:11 CDT: The second email from Gary has an AP story about the win. WOOHOO!
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 13:45:25 -0500
From: Gary D. Smith
Reply-To: smithgd AT uah.edu
Subject: URGENT BULLETIN
We have just learned that the Alabama Supreme Court has ruled in FAVOR OF HIGHER EDUCATION in the proration lawsuit! This is another solid victory for higher education. A special issue of the UAS Legislative Update will be distributed within the hour with details. Thank all of you for your continuing support and encouragement.
Gary D. Smith
Executive Assistant to the President
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
Huntsville, Alabama 35899
email: smithgd AT uah.edu
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 14:59:02 -0500
From: Gary D. Smith
Subject: Follow Up info on lawsuit
In order to get information to you as quickly as possible, I am reprinting below an AP wire story on the Supreme Court Decision for your information. More details will follow as soon as we have them.
Alabama Supreme Court returns education to equal cuts
The Associated Press
6/29/01 2:50 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Supreme Court stopped Gov. Don Siegelman from taking bigger education budget cuts out of colleges than from K-12 schools.
In a decision Friday, the state’s highest court said state law provides for all segments of education to be cut equally when state tax collections fall below expectations.
The ruling was a win for universities, which had challenged the unequal cuts, and was a defeat for city and county school boards.
On Feb. 2, Siegelman ordered state education spending cut, or prorated, by $266 million because the economic downturn had reduced tax collections. He initially implemented the reduction by ordering all facets of education cut 6.2 percent across the board.
Later, based on a Montgomery judge’s decision and an advisory opinion of Attorney General Bill Pryor, the governor ordered no cuts in the money allocated for the salaries of K-12 teachers. Siegelman said a 1995 state law had shielded those salaries from cuts. The result was the total allocation for K-12 schools was cut 3.7 percent and higher education was sliced by 11.1 percent.
Universities appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court said the 1995 law prohibits city and county school boards from transferring funds allocated for salaries to other expenditures, but it does not apply to actions taken by the governor at the state level.