The Alabama Supreme Court has changed some of the wording its recent ruling tossing out a lawsuit against the Alabama Accountability Act, but it didn't change the result.
On Sept. 20, the state's highest court blocked a lawsuit that members of the Alabama Education Association filed against four legislators to challenge the new law. Even though the legislators won, they asked the court to reconsider part of the ruling that said the Accountability Act appropriated public funds.
A Montgomery judge is letting three parents intervene in the Alabama Education Association's lawsuit challenging the state's new private school tax credits.
Judge Gene Reese ruled Monday that Tequila Rogers of Mobile and Danyal and Mark Jones of Montgomery can become parties. They support the credits because they chose to enroll their children in private schools rather than failing public schools. They are represented by the Institute for Justice, which has defended school choice laws in several states.
Alabama's public schools aren't seeing an exodus of students taking advantage of private school tax credits.
State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice told the state school board Thursday that preliminary survey data shows 51 students have used the new Alabama Accountability Act to transfer from a failing public school to a private school.
He told AL.com that not all school systems have responded to a department survey, but he doesn't expect the figure to increase much because the state's largest systems have responded.
Gov. Robert Bentley says the Alabama Accountability Act gives failing schools the flexibility to make changes and improve. His remarks come after the SPLC filed a federal suit seeking to block the law.
Gov. Robert Bentley says the Alabama Accountability Act is designed to help students in all public schools.
The governor spoke out Monday after the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal court suit seeking to block the law. The suit says some impoverished students can't access part of the law providing tax credits for families that move their children from failing public schools to private schools.
Bentley says another portion of the law gives those failing schools the flexibility to make changes and improve.
With the start of the year just three weeks away for most districts, only seven private schools have signed up for Alabama's new program of tax credits to help students transfer from failing public schools.
The state Department of Revenue is developing regulations for the tax credits, and it reports that it hasn't seen much interest from private schools.
Robin Mears of the Alabama Christian Education Association says one reason is the lateness of the regulations. Schools start around Aug. 19, and the state's regulations won't be final until after that.
The leaders of two Alabama private school organizations don't expect many new students to apply in the wake of a law providing tax credits for students transferring from failing schools.
The executive director of the Alabama Christian Education Association, Robin Mears, said he expects less than 100 transfers to his member schools. The executive director of the Alabama Independent School Association, Randy Skipper, said he hasn't heard about any students inquiring about transferring.
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.