School Choice & Charters

Alabama’s Private School Choice Law to Get State High Court Review

By Arianna Prothero — November 11, 2014 1 min read
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Alabama’s private school choice law is going before the state’s highest court next month, according to

Oral arguments for a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Alabama Accountability Act are scheduled for Dec. 3.

The law created two tax-credit scholarship programs. One allows parents to use income-tax credits toward the costs of transferring their child to a private school from a failing public one. The other grants businesses and individuals tax credits for donating to a scholarship organization which provides tuition assistance for low-income families to send their children to private schools.

Those programs were part of a larger bill that opponents—including members of the state’s teachers’ union—say is unconstitutional based on how it doles out public money and the way it was passed by the legislature. A circuit judge agreed with them in May. There are rules about how many times a bill has to be read in front of lawmakers, how many different subjects can be included in a bill, and changing the purpose of bills mid-session.

Here’s a breakdown of how the bill morphed over time from

House Bill 84 was originally called the flexibility bill because it would allow local school boards to enter contracts with the state to waive some laws and policies so the local systems could better address their needs. The bill passed both houses with slight differences. Republicans in a conference committee tripled the bill in size, adding the two tax credit programs and renaming it the Accountability Act. The House and Senate approved the bill that night over the objections of Democrats."

The law has remained in effect while the lawsuit made its way through the courts. According to, two previous lawsuits to halt the Accountability Act have already failed.

Related: Colorado Voucher Lawsuit Gets a Date With the State Supreme Court

A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.