41 Days of School Choice: Day 14 – Alabama program gives parents financial help to send their child to a quality school
Washington, D.C. (August 21, 2014) – The American Federation for Children and its state ally, the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund, are highlighting Alabama’s Parent Refundable Tax Credit Program as a part of the back to school celebration, #41Days of School Choice. The Alabama program is one of few programs in the nation that give individual state income tax credits to families for private school tuition.
Last year, Alabama became the 17th state to enact a publically funded private school choice program for disadvantaged children. Enacted as a portion of the Alabama Accountability Act, this program allows individuals to receive a state income tax credit for educational expenses, including private school tuition.
Very few programs similar to the Parent Refundable Tax Credit exist and this program is the only one that makes a significant enough of an impact on a family’s ability to place their child in a private school.
To qualify for the tax credit, a student must attend a public school that ranks in the bottom 6 percent for statewide reading and math scores.
“I truly believe this is historic education reform and it will benefit students and families across Alabama regardless of their income and regardless of where they live,” said Alabama’s Governor Bentley when the legislation passed in 2013. “I’m so proud we have done this for the children of this state and especially the children who are in failing school systems and had no way out. Now, they have a way out.”
The Accountability Act has come under attack in the last year with three lawsuits filed against it. While two of the legal cases were thrown out, one was upheld when a Montgomery County Circuit Court ruled the choice program unconstitutional. The Institute for Justice is helping to fight this suit, and we’re confident that the ruling will be overturned.
- Students must be enrolled or assigned to attend a failing school
- Value of the tax credit equals the lesser of 80 percent of average state per-pupil funding , or tuition and fees of private school
Throughout the 41 Days of School Choice campaign, the American Federation for Children will be promoting programs using the hashtag “#41Days”.
The American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.