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Bill expands schools’ technology fund uses

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

A bill moving in the Senate would expand how schools can use their Advancement and Technology Fund money.

The fund was created in the Rolling Reserve Act that caps the annual education budget. In good years, some of the excess money goes back to schools in the form of Technology and Advancement Fund dollars. The fund is never guaranteed and amounts vary.

“It’s turned into a little bit of a piggy bank (for schools),” Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said in committee on Wednesday.  Allowable non-recurring uses for the money include insurance, transportation, technology and security measures. Orr’s Senate Bill 175 adds “capital outlay” to the allowable uses for the funds.

“That change could provide additional leeway to locals to use A and T funds to cover cost overages for capital projects to be funded with their bond proceeds,” Orr told Alabama Daily News.

“This would allow schools to buy computers and hardware that they need, not just bricks and mortar.”

Proposed allocations later this year total $76.5 million for higher education and $205.7 million for K-12.

Each schools’ proposed allocation in this fiscal year can be seen in a supplemental bill pending in the House.

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