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Bice Pushing for Teacher Raises, Birmingham Ranks Low for Financial Wellness

Tommy Bice
Alabama Superintendent Tommy Bice

Alabama Department of Education Superintendent Tommy Bice says he will propose raising teacher salaries over the next three years.

Bice said yesterday his department would recommend raising teachers' salaries 5 percent in fiscal year 2017, which begins next October.

The state government will have the final word on public school spending next year. According to the department, the raise would cost $160 million.

Bice says he will seek additional raises in 2018 and 2019, with the goal of bringing teacher salaries in line with inflation.

Alabama teachers with a bachelor's degree start at $36,867 a year. A master's degree bumps that starting salary to $42,395.

Since 2008, educators have received just one salary increase, a 2 percent raise in 2013.

A new study says residents of several Alabama cities are having a hard time holding onto their money.

The new report from the online financial site WalletHub puts Birmingham among cities that are the worst in credit scores, saving, and earning money. Several other Alabama cities ranked near the bottom.

Jill Gonzalez is a spokeswoman for WalletHub. She says there are many factors that contribute to wallet wellness in a city.

“First, we just looked at the median annual income adjusted by cost of living. In Birmingham and the Mobile area its about $32,000 per year. That’s on the lower side; we saw upwards of $80,000 in some of these cities that performed a lot better.”

Mobile and Birmingham have ranked among the lowest in wallet wellness for the past two years. Gonzales says with Black Friday and the start of the holiday shopping season coming up, setting a budget can help keep consumers out of financial trouble.

AP #3 Alabama is heading to Starkville, Mississippi Saturday to face #20 Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are 7-2 on the season while the Crimson Tide is 8-1.

Coach Nick Saban and his team know MSU is very good on both sides of the ball.

“This is going to be a real challenge in preparation for our offense, and it’s going to be really important that our guys have a good understanding of what they need to do to be able to execute against this multiple-front defense.”

With two SEC contests remaining, Alabama controls its destiny to get to the SEC Championship with a 5-1 record in conference play. Kickoff for tomorrow's game is set for 2:30 p.m. on CBS.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has previously said he’s open to expanding Medicaid, under the right circumstances. That may be happening soon.

Bentley spoke at a legal conference yesterday. He says his administration is considering expanding Medicaid, but has not made a final decision.

Bentley was a practicing dermatologist for decades. He says he’s concerned about health care access for the state's working poor and rural health care infrastructure.

But Bentley says one stumbling block is figuring out a way to fund the state's share of costs. The federal government will pay for 90% of the expansion, with Alabama picking up the remaining 10%.

Thirty states have already expanded Medicaid under President Obama's health care law.

The governor has previously said he might support a separate state-designed program requiring recipients to be employed.

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