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Press Release

Alabama School Chief Testifies before Senate Appropriations Subcommittee

Contact:PaulĀ Ferraripaulf@ccsso.org202-312-6870One Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20001

Washington, DC- Joseph Morton, State Superintendent of Education of the Alabama Department of Education, testified today on behalf of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on the need for an Education Jobs Fund.

"Schools need additional funding now or school boards will be forced to cut teaching positions," said State Superintendent of Education Morton. "Fewer teachers in the classroom will only frustrate needed reforms in the nation's lowest performing schools."

In Morton's testimony he acknowledged the continuing budgetary struggles state governments are facing as a result of the nation's severe economic downtown. Thirty-six states were forced to cut over 55 billion dollars for FY2010 and thirty of those states cut both K-12 and higher education. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reports remaining budgetary gaps of over $140 billion, just for the upcoming fiscal year. States are in the process of finalizing their budgets for FY2011 and without near term action the fiscal crisis will certainly result in additional job cuts at a time when the nation and Congress are focused on job creation.

"Unfortunately state budgets lag behind any national recovery by a year or more, so even as we are beginning to see economic growth at the national level state fiscal turnaround may still be some time away," stated Morton.

Senator Harkin's proposed Keep Our Educators Working Act would serve as a $23 billion extension of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund resulting in upwards of 250,000 education related jobs nationwide. CCSSO has been strongly advocating for an Education Jobs Fund on Capitol Hill and implores congressional support for Senator Harkin's bill.

To view Morton's testimony click here.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.