HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — The Alabama Education Association filed a new legal challenge to the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA) Tuesday, the second lawsuit since the controversial legislation took effect last year.
Dr. Greg Graves, Associate Executive Secretary of the Alabama Education Association, and members of the AEA legal team outlined the legal challenge during a media briefing in Montgomery Tuesday.
The lawsuit contends the private school transfers allowed by the act are inaccessible to Alabama’s poor families and will siphon millions of dollars away from the public schools they do attend.
Huntsville City School District is one of the districts directly impacted by the AAA beacuse several schools in this district fall under the “failing school” definition under the AAA. Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski says the legal challenges come at no surprise.
“The actual legislation that passed looks a lot different then when we went to testify in favor of the original proposal,” Wardynski says. “I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this works its way to the Alabama Supreme Court,” he added.
This latest challenge follows the same path of another lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center earlier this year.
The lawsuit filed in Montgomery federal court seeks to permanently block the implementation of the Alabama Accountability Act approved by legislators in the last session.
The Alabama Accountability Act will give tax credits — estimated at $3,500 per year per child — that families at “failing” schools can use to offset the cost of tuition at a private school or a non-failing public school.
The law also authorizes up to $25 million in tax credits for donations to scholarship programs designed to help lower income students bridge the gap between the $3,500 tax credit and private school tuition.
There are 56 private schools that are accepting transfers under the Alabama Accountability Act.
The state has named 78 public schools as failing under the Accountability Act because of recent test scores.
(Information for this reported contributed by our news partners at The Huntsville Times/ AL.com )