These are some stories from the 9/18/12 version of Tennessee Valley news update (633, 733, 833am, 304, 404, 504, 604pm) …
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WLRH) - Voters are going to the polls throughout Alabama today to decide whether to take $437 million out of a state trust fund to help balance the state General Fund budget for the next three years. The proposed constitutional amendment is the only issue on today’s ballot Polls are open from 7 AM to 7 PM. The state’s chief election official, Secretary of State Beth Chapman, estimates about one-fifth of Alabama’s voters will participate.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (Huntsville Times) - Huntsville High School will host a workshop for its students and those in its feeder schools tonight at 6:30. The workshop is one of a series of meetings over the next couple of weeks. The Huntsville Times reports that a team of technicians, including district staff and representatives from the digital textbook supplier and the IT company hosting the district’s e-mail server, will be at each meeting. Parents, teachers and students have complained about the district’s 1:1 Learning Initiative, which includes laptops and iPads for all students. Another workshop will be held tomorrow at Grissom High, with more to come next week at Columbia High, Lee/New Century, Butler and Johnson High.
MONTGOMERY, AL (AP) – The legal battle over Alabama’s financially troubled prepaid college tuition program is headed back to the Alabama Supreme Court. A Montgomery judge ruled yesterday that a law passed by the Legislature in the spring to permit reduced tuition payments is constitutional.
MADISON, AL (Huntsville Times) – The Madison School board passed a $96.6 million budget for fiscal year 2013 at its meeting last night. After the second of two state-required public budget meetings, the board voted unanimously to approve the budget, while holding their collective breaths the state will not, as it has for the past several years, cut the system’s designated funds. The Huntsville Times reports that of the $96 million, nearly 80 percent of it goes toward salaries and benefits. Patrick Conner, a financial advisor for the system who made the budget presentation, said there is a move throughout the nation to make sure at least 65 percent of a school district’s money is spent on instruction and support. He said neither Madison nor the State of Alabama have that problem. He said the system has 58 operating days in its fund balance, although it would like to reach the state-recommended 60. In other action, the board also approved a five-year Capital Plan, with some $21 million budgeted for 2013. It includes $15 million for renovations at Bob Jones High School; $1.5 million to purchase land for a new elementary school; and $1 million for a heating and air conditioning unit at Madison Elementary School, among other items.
MONTGOMERY, AL (AP) – A new survey by a group campaigning against obesity finds that Alabama is the sixth-fattest state in the nation. A study by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 32 percent of Alabama’s adult residents will be obese by 2030. The survey found that neighboring Mississippi is the fattest state in the nation, with a current obesity rate of 35 percent. The report predicts 67 percent of Mississippi’s adult population would be obese by 2030. The report lists Colorado as the thinnest state in the country. A recent federal study ranked Alabama as the fourth-fattest state. Health officials say they’re not seeing evidence that anti-obesity programs are helping people slim down.
HUNTSVILLE, AL – A lawsuit filed by Alabama A & M University last year against the Alabama A & M Research Institute has been set for trial. Madison County Circuit Court Judge Billy Bell has set a trial date of Dec. 3, according to court records. The trial will be a bench trial, which means there will be no jury and Bell will render a verdict. According to the website Al.com, the university filed the lawsuit in June 2011 because of a litany of issues with the research institute. Among the issues expressed in the lawsuit were concerns by Alabama A & M that actions by the research institute could jeopardize the school’s accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (ASACS). In December, Alabama A & M announced it has been cleared of any issues by a SACS inquiry prompted by complaints from alumni.