Dale County school leaders against controversial bill

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Today a lawsuit from the Alabama Education Association stopped Governor Robert Bentley from signing a controversial bill into law. It is called the Accountability Act of 2013. And with the swipe of the governor’s pen, school leaders in Dale County could see a backlash.

The potential law would provide tax credits for families zoned in the area of a failing school to attend a non-failing public or private school, which some state representatives say isn’t fair to the public school system.

State Rep. Dexter Grimsley, D-Henry/Houston County said, “We often look at schools and classify them as failing and fail to realize that public schools don’t just have the opportunity to choose the students that they teach. Public school students are required to teach each and every student that comes through their doors.”

State legislators put together a list of more than 200 schools that could be considering failing. What made their schools fall on this list has some school officials, in Daleville and Abbeville, scratching their heads.

Daleville City Schools Superintendent Andrew Kelley said, “We are academically clear and our schools made 100 percent of their NCLB goals. We are not on any school improvement list.”

And a drop in enrollment could mean less funding. Rep. Grimsley said, “We don’t know what it is going to cost the state of Alabama.”

Which is why local school leaders are hoping the governor takes a step back before putting pen to paper. “I think we need to look closer at what the main issue is in education if we want to improve education,” Dale County Superintendent Donny Bynum said.

A judge is expected to rule tomorrow morning on whether the governor can move forward with his decision to sign the bill.

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