By PHILLIP RAWLS
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Legislature agreed on its last meeting day to sell bonds to borrow $30 million to repair tornado-damaged schools.
The Senate voted 26-6 Monday afternoon to give final passage to the bond legislation. The bill now goes to the governor for his review.
The bill provides $15 million for Mobile's Murphy High School, which was damaged by a tornado on Christmas Day. There is also money for five other schools damaged by tornadoes on April 27, 2011. Three schools in the Tuscaloosa area will benefit, with $3 million for Alberta City Elementary and $2.5 million each for University Place Elementary and Holt Elementary. Phil Campbell High School will receive $6.4 million and Plainview High School $604,000.
The $30 million measure was among $280 million in bond measures awaiting legislative action.
The Senate approved and sent back to the House another bill to borrow $50 million through bonds to provide new technology training equipment in Alabama's public schools. If approved by the House on the Legislature's final meeting day it will provide equipment to help the State Board of Education achieve its goal of having all high school graduates ready for college or a career.
Another bond issue to provide $50 million for school security measures passed the House but died because the Senate never received a report from a committee that approved the bill. The bill was recommended by legislative committee that studied security issues in Alabama schools after the killings at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut, but opponents said no bonds should be sold until there is more study of schools' individual needs.
As the Legislature worked toward a midnight end to the 2013 legislative session, the Senate's work agenda did not include a House-approved bill to sell $100 million in bonds to help school students switch from traditional paper textbooks to electronic textbooks on computer tablets or similar devices.
Awaiting a vote in the House on the final day of the session was a bill authorizing $50 million in bonds to build or repair National Guard armories throughout the state.