Alabama legislature strengthens and expands state's tax credit scholarship program

MONTGOMERY (June 3, 2015)– Today, the Alabama Legislature came to an agreement and with bipartisan support, passed Senate Bill 71, which expands and strengthens the Alabama Accountability Act, the state’s school choice program.
“We are thankful to the members of the Legislature for once again showing their support for giving students and their families more educational options,” said Chad Mathis, chairman of the Alabama Federation for Children, the state’s voice for educational choice. “We have seen the impact this program has had on thousands of low-income families since its creation in 2013. This bill will make Alabama’s scholarship program one of the most accountable and transparent programs in the nation while ensuring more families have access to a choice in their child’s education.”
Senate Bill 71 was sponsored by Senator Del Marsh and Representative Ken Johnson. The bill expands the current scholarship program cap to $30 million, while also adding a number of accountability and transparency provisions. Scholarship granting organizations will now have to file four reports during the year detailing the number of scholarships given out over the previous quarter and those reports must be made publicly available by the Department of Revenue. The bill also requires an independent, third-party review to be done every two years in order to study and report on learning gains by scholarship students.
“This has been a great year for school choice in Alabama. With the creation of a charter school law and the expansion of the scholarship program, Alabama families have never had more high-quality educational options. AFC is dedicated to help educate parents about these options, while also working to bring more choice programs to Alabama.”
The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk, where it will await his signature.

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The Alabama Federation for Children is the state-based affiliate of the American Federation for Children.

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.

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