Governor Robert Bentley on Saturday issued the following statement on the Capitol rally organized by the Alabama Education Association:
"The AEA has criticized the budget I recommended without providing a better alternative. My budget proposals protect funding for proven education programs while also protecting critical services such as dialysis for Medicaid patients and doctor visits for children of low-income families. It makes no sense to let nearly $200 million sit in a savings account when we have that funding available to protect these critical services.
"The AEA is opposing economic development legislation that will benefit public schools by strengthening the Alabama economy. The Job Creation and Retention Act will increase the funding base for schools by providing new jobs and new investment in our communities. Putting Alabamians back to work is my top priority, and this legislation will accomplish that goal while also creating new revenue for public schools.
"The AEA is also fighting public charter schools and increased flexibility for traditional schools. The Education Options Act is a comprehensive effort to give teachers the flexibility they need while also giving students and their parents new options for success. I believe all children should have access to the highest-quality education possible -- no matter where they're from.
"I value the hard work of dedicated public school teachers across this state. I regret the misguided tactics used by the management of the AEA."