Children deserve better

Published 9:27 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2009

While we must commend the state Legislature for working diligently toward the ultimate passage of the state education budget, we should caution state legislators not to take money from K-12 education to rescue the ailing PACT program. A Senate committee this week approved a bill that would aid Alabama’s prepaid college tuition plan. The plan will provide the program with some state funds, freeze tuition increases at state-funded university until 2012 and change who presides over the program. Still, the bill doesn’t specify exactly where the money may come from, and some have strongly cautioned the state may dip into K-12 appropriations.

Is it really fair to rob Peter to pay Paul?

In this case, it would be robbing Alabama’s youngsters from quality education or forcing universities to freeze tuition increases, instead of allowing them to make voluntary tuition freezes such as the three-year pledge made by Troy. If all state universities are forced to freeze their tuition for three years, eventually they will have to raise their tuition to make up for those losses. Students set to begin their higher education studies in 2012 could be hit with outrageous tuition hikes.

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Obviously, nothing is cut and dry, and investors do deserve to get the money they put in, but we’re not sure taking funding from K-12 is the right idea, and mandatory tuition freezes aren’t necessarily the answer either.

If the state is going to take money from other funds in the, perhaps there are other departments they could cut from rather than cutting from education.

Alabama’s children deserve much better than this.