Legislator Proposes Rewards for Top Schools in Academics, Arts

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An Alabama legislator wants to create academic and fine arts competitions among Alabama high schools that would allow them to reap $15 million annually in awards.

Republican Representative Jack Williams of Vestavia Hills said schools could compete in a system like that used by the Alabama High School Athletic Association, which divides schools into six classes based on enrollment and then splits each class into eight regions.

Williams envisions schools getting as excited about competing for state titles in math or drama as they do for football.

Under his proposal, there would be $3,500 in cash awards each year, with a state championship worth $26,000.

Williams said if the program is successful, it could be expanded to middle and elementary schools.

The Alabama Association of School Boards opposes the idea. The group believes the initiative would be a further drain on the Education Trust Fund.

The Legislature's regular session starts Jan. 10.