Jackson County Superintendent Disappointed in Accountability Act

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) — Of the 202 schools listed by the Alabama House Republicans as failing under the Accountability Act, two are in Jackson County.

Skyline High School and Woodville High School are described by the list as “A public K-12 school that is labeled as persistently low-performing by the State Department of Education, in the then most recent United States Department of Education School Improvement Grant application”, but Jackson County Superintendent Ken Harding said the schools are not receiving any such grants and the description no longer applies.

“What is the definition?  Who decided?  It’s not clear,” Harding said.

“Some folks say I have four, some folks say I have two. I say I have none.”

He said all Jackson County Schools met their annual yearly progress (AYP) goals during the most recent rounds of testing and evaluation.

Harding said the new law creates many unanswered questions, and he expects people will find more problems and more questions as they have more time to read the bill.

“I hope he doesn’t just blindly sign it, but I’m afraid,” Harding said minutes before Governor Robert Bentley signed the Accountability Act, House Bill 84, into law.

He wanted the governor to take more time to review the bill and make some changes.

“This thing was a rush job, it’s hurried to get through, sneaking in there, under the table, behind the back door way, which is what they say they wasn’t going to do when they went down there and they said they was going to straighten it all up,” Harding said.

“I think they violated their own ethics law.”

He is most upset about the possibility of money being taken from the education trust fund to create tax credits for parents with students at failing schools.  Another provision can make school systems pay extra to transport kids to a non-failing school.

Harding says that doesn’t help fix anything.

“Let’s say that Alabama, God forbid, they had a bad football season. So what do we do?

“Are we gonna let all those guys transfer to Auburn?  And then what’s that going to do for the Alabama team?  If you’re taking the people out of there and not helping them get better, they’re not going to get better,” Superintendent Harding said.