AL.com’s Trish Crain, as she always does, has taken a very close look at which private schools are getting the bulk of scholarship money from the Alabama Accountability Act. You can see her work here.
While there are far more than 100 schools participating in this program, Trish just looked at the 41 which are getting about three-fourths of the scholarships.
We dissected the numbers even more and came up with the following:
Birmingham has nine schools on the list with a total of 461 scholarships. Of these, 229 are to students “zoned” to attend a “failing” school. That is 49.6 percent. But remember, “zoned” does not mean they were attending a “failing” school. The actual number of students attending a “failing” school prior to getting a scholarship is not disclosed.
Mobile is second on the list with seven schools and 454 scholarships. Of these, 45.3 percent are zoned for “failing” schools.
Huntsville is at number three with 433 scholarships at seven schools. Only 19 scholarships go to students zoned for a “failing” school. That is 4.3 percent.
Montgomery is next with 315 scholarships in five schools. Of these, 176 are to students zoned for “failing” schools. That is 55.8 percent.
But statewide the numbers are even more stark. The 41 schools in the AL.com study have a total scholarshi8p enrollment of 2,741. Only 865 of which are zoned for “failing” schools. That is 31.5 percent. Nine of the schools getting scholarships have ZERO students zoned for a “failing” school.
When this law was passed in 2013 the public was told it was all about help students in failing schools. But numbers do not back this contention. For example, two schools in Cullman County have 91 scholarship students. There are no “failing” schools in either Cullman cotu or Cullman County school systems. The same situation exists in Decatur where one school has 43 scholarships. Yet there is not a single “failing” school in the school systems of Morgan County, Decatur city or Hartselle city.
It is impossible to study these numbers without noticing how many Catholic schools are participating. A total of 16 such schools have 879 scholarship students out of a total enrollment of 4,894. Which means almost 18 percent of the student body at these 16 are getting a scholarship.
And once again we remind you that every single dollar going to a private school scholarship is a dollar that did not go to the Education Trust Fund. Which is another way of saying that public school students are really paying for these scholarships.