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Alabama Superintendent Releases List of Failing Schools

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Dr. Tommy Bice announces the list of failing schools. (Photo: Alabama Department of Education)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — State School Superintendent Tommy Bice has released the statewide list of failing schools.

In north Alabama, 10 schools are listed as failing. Nine are in Huntsville and one is in Decatur.  See the full list.

Huntsville City Schools
SR Butler High School
Chapman Middle School
Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School
Davis Hills Middle School
Ed White Middle School
J.O. Johnson High School
Lakewood Elementary School
James Dawson Elementary School
Westlawn Middle School

Decatur City Schools
Brookhaven Middle School

Dr. Tommy Bice, Alabama Superintendent of Education, said it is important to look at the numbers on the list next to some of the schools.  He said some, including Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary in Huntsville, have shown real progress in the last six years.

“They’ve shown the improvement you can make when the right resources are in place,” said Dr. Bice.

A school is listed as failing if it falls in the bottom six percent of schools in the state, and MLK was not on the failing list the last two years.  In fact, its numbers show a 34% increase in student achievement over the last six years.  However, because it did fall in the bottom six percent for the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 school years, it made the failing list.

Additionally, James Dawson Elementary did not make the bottom six percent of schools the past two years. However, it did the previous four years, so it made the failing list.  James Dawson’s numbers show a 29% increase in student achievement since 2006.

Huntsville’s Lakewood Elementary School didn’t fail in 2012, but did the previous five years.  Lakewood’s numbers show a 28% increase in student achievement since 2006.

If your child's school is listed as failing, what are your options?

Dr. Bice said parents have four choices.

1) They can choose for their children to remain in the schools they're in.  He said he hopes many families will look at the numbers and see if they are improving before they decide to change schools.

2) They can choose to change to a comparable school in the same school system.

3) They can negotiate to move to an adjoining school system, if that school system has space and is willing to accept the student.  The Alabama Accountability Law states schools do not have to take a student from another system.

4) Parents can seek enrollment in a non-public school (private or parochial).  This does not include home school or an online school.  The parent or guardian, under the Alabama Accountability Act, will be able to then apply for a state tax credit valued at up to $3,500.

The parent or guardian will have to pay the tuition in full and then seek reimbursement from the state.

If parents choose to transfer their children, Dr. Bice asks that you notify the school by August 1.

Questions About Transportation

Dr. Bice also discussed what happens in regards to transportation if a student transfers.

  • If a student transfers to a school within the same district, they can continue to ride the bus
  • If they transfer to a school in another system, transportation is up to the family. They can use the voucher to help with transportation costs.

Dr. Bice also said students who transfer to a non-public school must still participate in state assessments so the Alabama Department of Education can continue to monitor the student's growth.

If a student with a disability transfers, their Individualized Education Program (IEP) follows them. If they move to an adjoining school systen, their IEP still follows them, but that school system can schedule a meeting to review or revise the IEP.