MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – Governor Robert Bentley signed the Alabama Accountability Act on Thursday, wasting no time after the state’s high court allowed the bill to proceed.
Wednesday, the Alabama Supreme Court vacated a temporary restraining order blocking House Bill 84 from being transmitted to the governor.
Governor Bentley said the new law will give flexibility to help public schools improve while also helping more children have access to a high-quality education.
“For the first time ever, we’re giving all public schools the flexibility they need to better serve their students,” Governor Bentley said. “Every school can now develop new ideas that come from their local teachers and their local principals and then put those ideas into practice. Local educators deserve the freedom and opportunity to make their schools better. That’s what this legislation provides.”
The bill also gives new options for students to transfer if they attend a failing school. This includes controversial school vouchers. Many have criticized this portion, including state education leaders.
“Some concerns have been raised regarding the impact of this legislation,” Governor Bentley said. “The Department of Revenue and the State Department of Education are reviewing this bill and can develop responsible rules and regulations to address various concerns. The most important thing right now is to make sure our schools, our families and our children have the tools they need. This bill gives them that flexibility.”
Opponents said the Governor signed the bill too quickly.
“I am deeply disappointed that the governor signed this bill as is without any executive amendments,” said House Minority Leader Craig Ford. “This new law will devastate our schools and cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s education budget. But the legal challenges will continue, and Democrats will continue our fight to repeal this disastrous law.”