Local schools, Bevill State to benefit from $1.25 billion bond issue

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Both the Walker County and Jasper City school systems, as well as Bevill State Community College, are set to benefit from a $1.25 billion bond issue.

The Alabama Public School and College Authority approved on Thursday for $1.25 billion to be distributed to Alabama K-12 institutions and the state's colleges and universities. 

According to the Alabama Department of Finance, The Walker County Board of Education will receive just over $8.908 million, while the Jasper City Board of Education will receive slightly over $3.582 million.

Lawmakers approved for each K-12 school system to receive $400,000 and more funds based on enrollment and a previous education funding formula, as reported by Alabama Daily News.

“Who it means the most for are the poor school systems that don’t have the capacity to go out to the market for their own money, so they will get a little bit out of this,” State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said in the Alabama Daily News report. 

Approximately 1,600 K-12 schools in Alabama will benefit from the bond issue.

The Alabama Community College System received just over $120 million that will be distributed among the state's 24 community colleges, including Bevill State. 

Tana Collins-Allred, Bevill State's director of advancement and public relations, said it is not known how much money the college will receive just yet. She said Bevill State leaders will have to submit proposals for how the money would be used before the funds are issued to the college.

Community colleges will apply for the funding via the Alabama Community College System's ASPIRE 2030 initiative, aimed at long-term infrastructure planning for the state's community college system. 

Each education entity will use funding from the bond issue for construction and/or campus repairs.

At this time, it is unknown how local boards of education and the college will use the funding.  

 “So, it does not mean that you’re going to see brand new campuses going up all over the place,” Mackey said in the Alabama Daily News report. “What you’re gonna see are roofing projects, classroom additions. I’ve talked to some superintendents that will use it on a new building, but it won’t be enough to do the building itself, they’re combining it with some local capacity to do it."

Debt service on the $1.25 billion bond issue is reported to be around $2 billion, according to the Alabama Department of Finance. Tax revenues from the Education Trust Fund will be used for the annual repayment.   

"Even amidst a roller coaster year and COVID-19 derailing the Legislative Session, we remain ever committed to the students and teachers across our state through this record investment,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. 

According to AL.com, this is the state's first major bond issue to benefit public education institutions since 2007.