The Mobile County school system is the largest in Alabama with an enrollment of 53,971 last year. And at their Nov. 13 school board meeting they joined Baldwin and Montgomery county systems in passing a resolution asking their legislative delegation to work to repeal the Alabama Accountability Act.
These means that of the four largest systems in the state, three of them have called for repeal. Baldwin has 35,907 students, Montgomery has 29,124 and Jefferson rounds out the top four with 35,907.
Since this law was passed in 2013, a total of $146,617,919 has been diverted from the state’s Education Trust Fund to provide scholarships to students attending private schools. There were 726,924 students in public schools in 2017-18. Do the math and you see this amounts to $201.69 for each public school student.
This comes to $10.8 million for Mobile, $6.2 million for Baldwin and $5.8 million for Montgomery. With all systems scratching for funding at present, more and more educators and school boards are realizing that the Accountability Act is a bad investment for public schools.
Here are portions of the Mobile resolution:
“WHEREAS, after five years of implementation, based on data, the act has not achieved its original purpose of increasing student achievement; instead, the state as a whole continues to suffer academically;
WHEREAS, instead of a positive financial impact, the act has holistically caused negative financial impacts on school districts;
WHEREAS, an evaluation by the Alabama Department of Revenue concluded that students leaving public schools for private schools under AAA “were not associated with significant improvement on standardized test scores” and that those students “were more likely to remain in a non-proficient category than to improve.”
WHEREAS, AAA labels schools, faculty, staff and students as failing when expediential growth is being shown in these schools each year;
WHEREAS, Mobile County Public Schools is the largest school district in the state, and adequate funding is needed in order to ensure both equity and equality among the 88 schools throughout the district;
WHEREAS, the Mobile County Board of School Commissioners requests a copy of this resolution to be provided to each member of the Mobile County Legislative Delegation requesting their support of the repeal of the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013.”
It is expected that more systems will soon take the same action as Mobile, Baldwin and Montgomery.