School Choice Advances in Alabama

By Amelia Hamilton Published on March 19, 2015

The state of Alabama has taken a major step forward in educational freedom.

Yesterday, both chambers of Alabama’s state congress passed a bill that will allow charter schools to operate within that state. The bill now heads to Governor Robert Bentley, who is expected to sign it into legislation. Jennifer Ardis, spokeswoman for Bentley, said, “The governor is supportive of charter schools as an option to help children in failing schools. Pending a full legal review, he is expected to sign the bill.”

There are currently only eight states which do not allow for charter schools, and this legislation holds the promise of reducing that number to seven. The bill allows for two types of charter schools in Alabama. Traditional public schools could convert to charters, or a tax-exempt group could apply to start charter school. The former will be unlimited, but the latter will have a limitation of 10 charters per year for the first five years.

The House bill’s sponsor Terri Collins (R-Decatur) said “Every child in Alabama deserves a high quality education, and the School Choice and Student Opportunity Act empowers parents with another choice for their child’s education,” Collins said. “It is time for Alabama to join the other 42 states that provide this innovative option to educators, parents, and students.”

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