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Alabama superintendent expresses concern over school choice bill

Supporters say it would help low income students get better opportunities. Others say it would...
Supporters say it would help low income students get better opportunities. Others say it would drain resources for public schools.(WFIE)
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 5:53 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - One of the more controversial bills in the Alabama legislature right now is a proposal involving school choice.

The bill would move more than $400 million out of the Education Trust Fund.

This bill sponsored by Sen. Del Marsh would let parents use $5,500 per child of state education money to spend on going to a school outside of their district - including private ones.

Supporters say it would help low income students get better opportunities. Others say it would drain resources for public schools.

State Superintendent Eric Mackey says he has been in contact with Marsh about concerns he has with the bill. Mackey says his main concern is accountability.

“Most of my concerns just are around the accountability piece. That if we have money that are going to nonpublic schools, what will be the accountability piece back to the state,” Mackey said. “And I’ve even had some discussions now with folks in the private school world. I think many of them are concerned about accepting state money and what that means. But, it’s just a discussion that will continue to move forward.”

There are two versions of the school choice bill - one in the House and one in the Senate. Lawmakers are expected to discuss the bills this week.

Mackey says he is pleased so far with the legislative session.

He says he’s following the Numeracy Act closely. It calls for the hiring of hundreds of math coaches to support educators in the classroom. Mackey believes it will help bolster math standards in schools.

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