Montgomery Advertiser, May 2, 2013
As time runs out to clarify Alabama’s new private school tax credits, Republican lawmakers appear to agree on only one point: They want to be clear that no public or private school has to take a student from a failing public school.
Proponents said that will keep successful schools from being overrun with new students. Opponents said it’s a way to let overwhelmingly white suburban schools reject inner-city students.
“All this is doing is saying if my child in Jefferson County is in a failing school, he cannot go across that mountain to Mountain Brook or Vestavia. That’s what this bill is saying. And we are sitting here continuing to perpetuate segregation in our state,” Democratic Rep. A.J. McCampbell of Linden said.
The private school tax breaks are part of the Alabama Accountability Act that the Legislature’s Republican majority passed Feb. 28 after cutting off debate by Democrats. The bill provides a state tax credit for parents who choose to send their children to a private school or non-failing public school rather than a failing public school. A failing school is determined by current assessments and by a new school grading system that starts in 2017. More...