Help Protect Local Schools by Supporting Amendment 4 On Nov. 4 Statewide Ballots

Please vote for constitutional Amendment 4 on statewide ballots next month and extend unfunded mandate protections to local school boards that local government bodies currently enjoy.

The amendment that is on statewide ballots Nov. 4 is an important initiative that was supported by the Business Council of Alabama during the 2014 legislative session.

The BCA’s 2014 State Legislative Agenda included support for a constitutional amendment prohibiting state unfunded mandates to include local school systems. Voters approved the local government unfunded mandate in 1999.

“Protecting local boards of education against significant expenditures mandated by the Legislature is a Business Council of Alabama priority,” BCA President and CEO William J. Canary said. “The amendment’s safeguards are prudent and responsible protections that allow local school boards to control their finances and prevent burdensome fiscal surprises.”

With voter approval of constitutional Amendment 4 next month, unfunded mandates that require expenditures by local school boards of more than $50,000 in their own money unless certain requirements are met would be prohibited.

The amendment would prohibit the Legislature from approving an unfunded mandate of more than $50,000 in local funds on a municipal or county school board in any one year unless funding accompanies the mandate or the Legislature approves the mandate by at least a two-thirds majority vote.

Local school boards and the Alabama Association of School Boards support passage of Amendment 4. Local school boards are the only local government entities without state constitutional protection against unfunded mandates.

The amendment includes a provision that protects employee salaries and benefits to prohibit differing pay scales for state or local-funded positions.

The amendment, Senate Bill 7 sponsored by Sen. Dick Brewbaker, R-Pike Road, was approved without a dissenting vote in the 2014 regular legislative session – 33-0 in the Senate and 95-0 in the House.

Voters will see a synopsis of Amendment 4 on their ballots: “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to prohibit a general law, whose purpose or effect is to require a new or increased expenditure of at least $50,000 of local funds annually, from becoming effective with regard to a city or county board of education without enactment by a 2/3 vote. (Proposed by Act 2014-185)”

Read the amendment as passed by the Legislature here.

-Dana Beyerle