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New statewide coalition seeking changes to Alabama’s School Funding Policy

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More than two dozen organizations in Alabama are joining together to launch a new coalition aimed at modernizing Alabama’s school funding policies.

The Every Child Alabama Coalition includes individuals and organizations representing several communities and viewpoints. The coalition will work with business leaders, educators, students and families, and community members to ensure every child in the state has access to a world-class education system, no matter their zip code or circumstance. Its first priority is to change the formula Alabama uses to fund its public school programs.

Alabama is one of only six states that utilize a funding formula based on student enrollment rather than the challenges that students might face, such as poverty or special education needs. School systems are also unable to adjust how they spend the funds they are allocated to better address their students’ needs. Consequently, many school systems struggle to deliver the specific resources and support many students require.

“Alabama has not updated the way it funds public schools in more than three decades, and how we fund them creates large disparities across the state,” said Jason Meadows, the advocacy and partnerships director of A+ Education Partnership. “Every child is different, and some children need more support to be successful. A better approach would be to consider the specific needs of students within each school system and ensure every school can fund the resources needed to help them and their families thrive.”

To kick off the coalition, Every Child Alabama is hosting the Every Dollar Counts Learning Series, a comprehensive 7-part learning opportunity designed to empower Alabamians with the knowledge and tools to understand and improve our state's education funding. Throughout the series, expert speakers from Alabama and across the nation will break down the intricacies of education funding, offering insights and strategies to modernize our state's funding formula.

Interested individuals can register at everychildalabama.org/2024-every-dollar-counts-series-registration/.

Baillee Majors is the Morning Edition host and a reporter at Alabama Public Radio.
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