Gov. Bentley Signs Private School Tax Credit Bill

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley wasted no time in signing legislation providing tax credits to parents who send their children to private schools instead of failing public schools.

The Alabama Supreme Court decided late Wednesday afternoon to throw out a lower court order that kept the Legislature from sending the bill to the governor for signing. The Legislature delivered the bill Thursday morning and Bentley signed it just before 11 a.m.

Bentley says the bill provides flexibility for schools in complying with state education laws and gives choices to parents whose children are assigned to failing schools. Bentley says the goal of the bill is not to support private schools, but to improve failing schools.

An attorney for the Alabama Education Association says it will challenge the new law in court.

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MONTGOMERY – Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday signed the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013, which will provide flexibility to help public schools improve while also helping more children have access to a high-quality education.

“For the first time ever, we’re giving all public schools the flexibility they need to better serve their students,” Governor Bentley said. “Every school can now develop new ideas that come from their local teachers and their local principals and then put those ideas into practice. Local educators deserve the freedom and opportunity to make their schools better. That’s what this legislation provides.”

“This also gives flexibility to children and parents by providing new options for students who are stuck in persistently low-performing schools,” Governor Bentley added. “All children deserve access to a quality education, no matter where they live. This provides a new option to help children receive the best education possible.”

“As promised, this bill gives flexibility without infringing on the rights and responsibilities of our classroom teachers,” Governor Bentley said. “This bill shows that we trust our teachers to innovate and to develop new programs to reach our children. And this bill shows families that we’re committed to making sure their children have access to a quality education.”

“Some concerns have been raised regarding the impact of this legislation,” Governor Bentley said. “The Department of Revenue and the State Department of Education are reviewing this bill and can develop responsible rules and regulations to address various concerns. The most important thing right now is to make sure our schools, our families and our children have the tools they need. This bill gives them that flexibility.”


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