UPDATE: Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signs charter schools bill, local superintendent not happy

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT/AP) - Gov. Robert Bentley has signed a bill to allow charter schools in the state.  The governor's spokeswoman said Bentley signed the GOP-championed bill into law on Thursday.

The Alabama Legislature gave final approval to the bill Wednesday after several hours of contentious debate in the House of Representatives.

Republicans called the bill a session priority, saying that the schools will spark innovation and provide education choices for families. Democrats argued the new schools would drain education resources and criticized the potential involvement of for-profit companies.

Charter schools are publicly funded schools that have freedom from some of the regulations placed on other public schools. Alabama is one of eight states that did not allow public charter schools.

Wednesday evening during the Huntsville City School Board Meeting, Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski spoke candidly about his disapproval of the charter school bill passed today.

Wardynski says charter schools will complicate the current consent order a federal judge is reviewing.

The superintendent is also watching another piece of legislation that would allow for a virtual charter school to operate in the state.

"A virtual charter school could operate from anywhere, pull students from any school and they wont have any rules to play by unlike public schools who are forced to have a rule book when charter schools do not," Wardynski says.