As Governor, I will propose the Alabama Education Lottery (AEL) which if passed by the Legislature would be a constitutional amendment to be voted on in November 2020 by the people of Alabama.
AEL will be a public corporation and will be grounded in transparency, accountability and the unbreakable principle that lottery proceeds will never supplant current and future funding from the Education Trust Fund. AEL's proceeds will be constitutionally protected ensuring that legislators never divert funding from our classrooms.
Based on conservative estimates, AEL will provide $300 million annually, after prizes and expenses, which will elevate and transform Alabama's schools and communities with the following initiatives:
Too many of our schools in urban and rural communities are not preparing our students for a 21st Century, technology-driven economy. Teachers, administrators and support personnel face immense challenges that extend beyond academic achievement, especially in our underperforming schools.
In particular, we know that too many of our students have medical, mental health and other social needs which, when go untreated, directly impact their ability to learn. We can no longer ignore these circumstances. It is imperative that we provide wrap-around services that address our children’s issues holistically and is specific to the needs of their community. To that end, I will propose $25 million be allocated annually towards the Community Innovation Schools (CIS).
CIS will be a voluntary grant program designed to ensure integrated services from existing state agencies, local agencies, non-profits and faith-based organizations. CIS’s grants are designed for chronically underperforming schools with the goal of creating sustainable success.
To that end, the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Department of Education will provide an onsite delivery model that connects existing services directly to the schools.
CIS will also be teacher driven with great flexibility to create a learning environment that addresses the direct academic, health and social needs of the students.
In addition, higher education will contribute their research, service and teaching resources which will enhance services and provide data for continuous improvements.