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Special session ends with no solution to proration

By By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
The Alabama Legislature ended its special session Monday night with no solution for the proration crisis.
Dr. Sandra Sim-deGraffenried, executive director of the Alabama Associaton of School Boards, said Tuesday this is the first time in her memory that the legislature has not passed a bill during a special session.
With the legislature's failure to resolve proration, Escambia County Superintendent of Education Buck Powell said Tuesday the board is once again looking at 6.2 percent proration. He was previously told that this percentage represents a loss of $1.213 million for Escambia County schools, but the latest figures from the state show a $1.230 million loss. Powell said he doesn't know why the figures changed.
The school board will be burdened further by having proration fall later in the year. February's funds have been received in full. Prorated funds will have to be absorbed over a shorter period of time.
De-Graffenried added that the proration crisis has divided education in Alabama. Proposed proration fell on the K-12 schools. But when the courts ruled that K-12 could not be cut, college and university administrations protested, fearing drastic cuts in their budgets. That court's decision was overturned by a higher court, and Gov. Don Siegelman called a special session of the Alabama Legislature to address proration. But, apparently, the lines have been drawn in the sand.
She said she is still optimistic that the legislature will find a solution.
This is certainly not the first time Alabama schools have had to deal with proration. According to the AASB, Alabama's education budget has been prorated 14 times since 1949: 1949-50 – 4.8 percent; 1950-51 – 1 percent; 1956-57 – 2.76 percent; 1957-58 – 7.82 percent; 1958-59 – 3.54 percent; 1959-60 – 8.35 percent; 1960-61 – 14.14 percent; 1978-79 – 2.98 percent; 1979-80 – 6.14 percent; 1980-81 – 3.57 percent; 1985-86 – 4.21 percent; 1990-91 – 6.5 percent; 1991-92 – 6, reduced to 3; 2000-01 6.2.