Some parents wishing to move students from failing schools say they have only recently learned about financial options.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
Tennessee Valley parents got a closer look at scholarship options for children they wish to transfer between schools in accordance with the Accountability Act.
Parents and guardians wishing to take children out of failing public schools to area private schools are eligible for financial help, but many parents said they heard about their options, such as scholarships and tax credits, for the first time Wednesday.
That being said, about 1,300 people have already applied for scholarships, and the state only has $25 million to divvy up. Anyone who attends a failing school or meets certain income guidelines is eligible for a scholarship, even if the child already attends private school.
As for tax credits, if you transfer your child out of a failing school and incur a cost to do so, you can get a tax break, either in the form of 80% of the state's average cost for a student in public school, or the actual incurred cost of attending a non-failing or non-public school – whichever is less.
Outreach and advocacy manager Catherine Bridgers said the tax credit part of the Accountability Act helps with what the scholarship does not cover. "We know that the cost of education is not just what you pay to go to school or what you pay on books. It can be everything from uniforms to gym clothes to field trips, so we try to provide that relief is well. We encourage parents that have questions to contact a tax professional," she said.
Wednesday at libraries across Huntsville, folks could fill out a paper application in addition to logging on to the internet to apply. One woman said any little bit helps. She said getting a scholarship could be her last option to get what she called a "proper education" for her son.
"It's definitely a big deal," said Jeniece Wilmer. "As a matter of fact, it is not a go if we don't do the scholarship. I would have to find something else, another opportunity for him."
To learn more about financial aid options and to apply, click here. You can also visit this site to learn more about the Accountability Act.