State BOE takes emergency action on controversial law - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

State BOE takes emergency action on controversial law

Dr. Tommy Bice at the state board of education meeting. Dr. Tommy Bice at the state board of education meeting.

Emergency action taken by the state school board regarding the Alabama Accountability Act means parents of children in failing schools will be able to transfer them before the first day of school.

"To do something under regular rules for administrative code takes 60 days."

State superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice says that's just not an option.

"The law was very clear this needs to go into effect immediately."

And it will.

Parents of children in failing schools will receive letters within the next two weeks giving them the option to transfer schools.

Bice says the process should run smoothly.

"If I'm a parent and I'm in a school that's on the list and I choose to take one of the choices of those options, I simply go to the school, pick up the form that's required to do that, go to the school where I intend to send my child, get them to sign off on it, return it to the school where my child was enrolled and the process is done."

"If parents have choice, if they have choice, if choice is real, what are those choices?" asks District five board member Ella Bell.

Bell represents Montgomery and continues asking the question--especially since all of the traditional middle schools in Montgomery are on the failing list.

"If I'm a parent in a low performing school, I want my child to go to a higher, a high performing school, a school that is considered high performing. The question becomes, even in Montgomery county, where would those schools be?"

Bell says the magnet schools have been taken off the table as options for children in failing schools.

Children are allowed to transfer to participating private schools and possibly receive a tax credit.

However, it's still unclear how many local private schools will choose to participate.

The board also voted to allow the state department easier access when intervening in failing school systems and to allow budget adjustments for monies the department receives as a result of the new accountability law.

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