Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Alabama House passes School Choice Act

The bill was one of two controversial school choice bills up for the Legislature in this session.

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Alabama House of Representatives passed a school choice bill Thursday revamping the governance of Alabama charter schools. The bill passed along party lines, 76-25. 

The bill was one of two controversial school choice bills up for the Legislature in this session; the other, dubbed the PRICE Act, would create a school voucher program and is still stuck in committee in both chambers despite clearing a hurdle in a Senate committee Wednesday.

This legislation is part of Gov. Kay Ivey’s State of the State package, as the governor promised to rework the state’s charter schools, including adding more accountability for the charter schools. 

Democrats still shared concerns that charter schools are harming public education.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step,” Rep. Barbara Boyd, D-Talladega. “I’m going to have to vote no today, because I’m thinking in the long run, this will destroy public schools.”

A change to the bill in committee would give the Senate and House minority leaders one appointee on the Charter School Commission. 

The bill also adds language to the state’s existing law to require orientation and annual training for members of the commission. The orientation program would focus on the roles and responsibilities of charter school authorizers, laws impacting commissioners as public officials, general education laws, and best practices.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Another change is to ensure a local school board that has denied a charter school application receives a 15-day notice of an appeal meeting made with the commission so that a representative of the board can present its case to the commission.

The law ensures charter schools receive Foundation Program funding based on anticipated enrollment and that conversion charter schools are funded at the same level prior to conversion.

Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, said the state can’t support so many forms of schooling with limited education funds.

“I just don’t think a state like the state of Alabama can support several different forms of public school education out of one pot of money,” Moore said. “We haven’t done well, and that’s why we have the problems in public school because we don’t have sufficient funds.”

Moore said children are returning to the public school system from charter schools “so deficient in learning that it puts an extra burden on the teachers, the classroom they are putting them in.”

The bill’s sponsor, Terri Collins, R-Decatur, said that students are doing better in charter schools than in the surrounding system within the first few years, and better than magnet school students after three to four years.

Rep. Phillip Ensler, D-Montgomery, joined Republicans in approving the bill. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

More from APR


Governor Kay Ivey awarded $3.9 million toward 12 projects across the state through funding created by the Rebuild Alabama Act


Alabama ranks in the top 5 states for manufacturing job concentration.


J. Scott Brewer receives judgeship after 16 years as an assistant district attorney in Talladega County courtrooms.


Gov. Kay Ivey announced the appointment of 20 individuals to various state positions.