Accountability Act receives favorable report from Committee

April 12, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, April 11, 2017, the Alabama House Ways and Means Education Committee gave a favorable report to SB123. SB123 is sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston). This newest version of the Alabama Accountability Act has already passed the Alabama Senate and could move to the House floor as early as Thursday.

The Accountability Act allows a child in one of the State’s many failing public schools to accept a scholarship to attend a private school. The landmark school choice program has been a major Marsh initiative for years.
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No Accountability in Accountability Act

October 27, 2015

EDUCATION MATTERS
By Larry Lee 

The Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) has made public the latest reports of scholarship granting organizations (SGO) participating in the Alabama Accountability Act.  And once again we see how little accountability there really is in this law.

There are currently nine SGOs listed by ADOR.  All were supposed to make a report showing info for Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015.  This was due by Sept. 1, 2015.  Two have made no reportsl.  Of the remaining seven, one made no annual report and its “quarterly” report was from June 1, 2015 to Aug. 1, 2015.  Two made no quarterly reports  and one annual report was late.
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House Passes Accountability Act Reforms

June 1, 2015

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, May 28, the Alabama House of Representatives passed SB71 which reforms the controversial Alabama Accountability Act of 2013.  The bill was sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and was carried in the House by Representative Ken Johnson (R-Moulton).

The Alabama Accountability Act allows taxpayers to divert a portion of their income taxes from the Education Trust Fund (ETF) to privately managed non-profit Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) so the SGOs can use that money to award scholarships to students trapped in Alabama’s poorest performing schools. The scholarships allow the student to attend either another public school or a private school that is taking AAA scholarship students.
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House Now Moves To Save Riley SGO

April 14, 2015

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—On Wednesday, the House will take up the bill that will expand the Alabama Accountability Act to save one particular Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO).

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) sponsored SB71, which would not only expand the cap of donations under AAA from $25 million to $30 million, it would also allow for retroactive tax credits and give SGO’s the ability to bring forward unused money from previous years.
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Revisions to Accountability Act Would Keep Riley SGO from Failure

March 30, 2015

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Current legislation before the State Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee changes the terms of the Alabama Accountability Act to potentially benefit one particular Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO). The primary beneficiary of the revised law would appear to be the Florida-owned SGO led by former Governor Bob Riley (Riley’s SGO is a whole subsidiary of Florida-based Step Up for Students, according to its 990s).
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Hundreds Rally for School Choice In Montgomery

January 29, 2015

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, January 27, hundreds of Alabama school children and their parents joined Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) in a rally in front of the state capital demanding that the state of Alabama offer more education choices to students such as charter schools and expanding the controversial Alabama Accountability Act.

Speaker Mike Hubbard said in a statement on Facebook, “School Choice Week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. When we stand up for the future of our children and fight for the betterment of our educational system, Alabama families are winning and we are all better off for it.”
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Riley Partner Could Triple Profits Through Proposed Legislation

March 25, 2014

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

John Kirtley, one of former Governor Bob Riley’s business partners, may soon see a tripling of his over seven million dollars in annual profits coming in from his Florida Accountability Act-style SGO if newly proposed GOP legislation can make its way through the state’s legislature.

The proposal, which comes amid debate in Montgomery over whether to make changes to the Alabama Accountability Act’s SGO provisions, would open up Florida’s sales taxes as a possible revenue source for the private scholarship-granting entities’ coffers.
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They Want More

March 5, 2014

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

In the 1948 classic film Key Largo, there is a poignant scene between James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. Cagney plays the mobster Johnny Rocco and Bogie plays a weary war veteran named Frank McCloud. They are joined in the scene by Lionel Barrymore who plays Key Largo Hotel owner James Temple. The exchange is as follows:

Johnny Rocco: There’s only one Johnny Rocco.
James Temple: How do you account for it?
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Will Accountability Act be Big Financial Boom for Former Governor and Partner?

December 16, 2013

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — What does a former Governor, an investment banker and a scholarship granting organization have in common?

Together, they make a great combination for making money off of the Alabama Accountability Act.

Under the rules of the Accountability Act, Scholarship Granting Organizations ( SGOs) are allowed to take 5 percent of all the money they raise as administrative fees. With $25 million on the line, the race is on to see who can own the lion’s share of the SGO market.
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