Alabama's Department of Revenue says the state's new private school tax credits don't apply to students who are already in private schools, even though they are zoned for a failing public school.
The department has been developing regulations to implement the Alabama Accountability Act, which the governor signed into law in March. State Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee said Tuesday the law is clear that the tax credits are to offset the cost of transferring students out of failing public schools, and it starts with the semester beginning in August.
Seventy-eight Alabama schools from both urban and rural areas are on the state's list of schools that are failing under a new law.
The list released Tuesday includes many schools from the state's Black Belt region and city or county systems around Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery.
Parents who want to remove their children from the schools and send them to better ones can receive tax credits under the Alabama Accountability Act, passed by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature this year.
The Alabama Board of Education has delayed releasing a list of schools that are failing under language included in the Alabama Accountability Act.
School board officials said Wednesday that the announcement by schools Superintendent Tommy Bice had been scheduled for Thursday, and was then rescheduled for next week. Officials said the release would likely be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the media briefing room at the Gordon Persons Building.
The Republican majority in the Alabama Legislature has handed the Republican governor a major defeat by rejecting his proposal to delay the start of private school tax credits for two years.
The House voted against the governor's proposal 57-10 Monday. Then the Senate agreed 19-15 at the urging of the architect of the tax credits, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh. Republicans provided the decisive votes.
Gov. Robert Bentley wants the Legislature to delay Alabama's private school tax credits for two years.
Bentley told chamber of commerce leaders Wednesday that a delay will give schools time to try to get off the failing list and will help the state repay a $423 million debt before the tax credits begin.
House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate leader Del Marsh says they will discuss Bentley's proposal with their members.
The Alabama Senate has approved legislation saying private schools and non-failing public schools don't have to take students transferring from failing public schools.
The Senate voted 21-12 Thursday for a bill making changes to the Alabama Accountability Act. The bill makes clear that a student transferring from a failing school in one school system to a non-failing school in another system has to provide his own transportation. It also tightens up which schools will be designated failing schools.
The Alabama Legislature is one step away from passing a bill that would make sure private schools and non-failing public schools don't have to take students who want to transfer from failing public schools.
The bill making transfers optional won approval in the House last week and in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. The bill by Republican Rep. Jim Carns of Mountain Brook now goes to the Senate for what could be a final vote.
The Alabama House passed a bill Tuesday night saying no public or private schools has to accept a student transferring from a failing public school under the new Alabama Accountability Act.
The bill by Republican Rep. Jim Carns of Mountain Brook passed 62-40 and now goes to the Senate. Proponents said the bill keeps some systems from being overrun with transfers they can't afford. Opponents said it gives affluent suburban school systems a reason to reject transfers from inner-city schools.