Dothan Private Schools React to Flexiblity Bill

By: Katrice Nolan Email
By: Katrice Nolan Email

House bill 84, or the school flexibility bill, would give parents of children who attend private schools a voucher or tax credit.

The explanation for it all is simple

"There is a pool of money, that's going to be made available, to parents, and these are public school parents, and in some states it differs the criteria on how to get this money," says Jay St. John, Interim Headmaster of Houston Academy in Dothan.

Here's how the bill would work for the state of Alabama.
It would have two voucher systems.
One system would provide parents a tax credit if they choose to remove their children from a "failing" public school.
The other voucher would allow businesses and individuals to get a tax credit for contributions to a college fund.

According to state legislators, allowing the tax credits is good for the economy.
St. John agrees.

"Corporations, were giving this money that was in a pool, and they would get a tax credit,
And once they are given those tax credits, hopefully they can hire more people."

Many private schools in the wiregrass are embracing HB 84 with open arms.

"We are open to it, we view it as an opportunity, to see how we can, minister additionally to kids, that we may not have been able to before, we have the facilities here to be able to accept more students here," says COO of Northside Methodist Academy Matthew Johnson.

"I think parents, should have a choice of where they want to go," says Jay St. John, Interim Headmaster of Houston Academy in Dothan.

But once that parent qualifies for the voucher would they still be able to afford private school?

"Our tuition at the top level is close to 10-thousand dollars, I am not sure what it is for the state, but let's say it’s $2,000 dollars. If it's $2,000 dollars for a low income family it's not going to make a difference," says Jay St. John, Interim Headmaster of Houston Academy in Dothan.

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