Troy University specified what its "Center for Civics Education and Leadership" is on Wednesday morning after lawmakers included a $1 million appropriation for the center their Education Trust Fund budget, which was approved by the Alabama Legislature last week.
1819 News reported on Wednesday morning that Troy's Johnson Center for Political Economy would no longer receive the $1 million appropriation, and the civics center would receive it instead if Gov. Kay Ivey signs the bill into law.
Initially, the bill included the $1 million appropriation to the Johnson Center's Free Enterprise Scholars Program, which caught Johnson Center executive director Allen Mendenhall by surprise. Mendenhall said he didn't find out about the appropriation until a reporter showed him the bill.
However, in the bill's final version, the Free Enterprise Scholars Program is not mentioned, and lawmakers listed the equivalent amount by the civics center.
Yet, a strict Google search for "Center for Civics Education and Leadership at Troy University" yields no results. 1819 News reached out to Troy University's senior director of communications Matt Clower on Tuesday morning to obtain more details about whether or not the center currently exists and, if it does, how it will use the money.
Clower did not respond until the next day, several hours after the story ran.
Clower said that Troy signed a partnership agreement with Montevallo's American Village to foster a Young Leaders Program for educating students about the United States' founding and governmental structure.
"The program will target high school juniors and seniors," Clower explained in his statement to 1819 News. "In addition, a Civics Education Micro-credential will be developed for teachers who teach middle or high school civics, American national government, U.S. history or those responsible for preparing students to take the civics examination for high school graduation. Through the partnership, Troy will also develop a curriculum to prepare students for the high school civics examination. Lastly, the partnership will produce publications and seminars targeted toward K12 Teachers and administrators."
The American Village is a history education site in Montevallo inspired by the colonial United States. It contains over 20 buildings, some replicas of famous historic American buildings, such as George Washington's Mount Vernon.
"We are grateful to legislators for this generous appropriation which will support the ongoing partnership between Troy University and the American Village Citizenship Trust, which focuses on helping Alabama youth increase their knowledge and understanding of U.S. history, the function of government, and the role of the citizen in the governmental process," he added.
When the unexpected $1 million to the Johnson Center was first discovered, 1819 News reached out to State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), chair of the Senate Education Budget Committee, to ask for an explanation. Orr did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
After discovering the appropriation was no longer in the final bill on Tuesday, 1819 News reached out to Orr again and still did not receive a response.
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