Numbers are often tossed around about the Alabama Accountability Act that may, or may not, be completely accurate. After all numbers that would be useful to know are simply not available. Like how many students on scholarships to private schools actually attended a public “failing” school at some point.
So let me share numbers I use and my rather simple methodology of working with them.
This act was passed in 2013 and scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) began collecting donations for scholarships that year.
Here are the yearly totals:
2014-$16,060,311 (This includes $2,649,553 collected in 2015 and allowed to be added to 2014 total)
The annual donation cap is $30 million My numbers show that 2018 is the first year this cap was reached. I pulled these numbers from the Revenue Department web site. Some may have been adjusted slightly as Revenue reviewed all donation applications.
In the 2017-18 school year, there were 726,924 students in public schools from first through 12th grade. You can find these figures, plus lots of others, here at the state department’s public data web site.
So when you divide $146,617,919 by 726,924 you find that as of the end of the 2017-18 school year, the cost of AAA per student was $201.69. Multiply this number by the number of students in a system, and you see how much has been diverted from the Education Trust Fund per student in this system. For example, Montgomery County had 29,124 students pre-K through 12 last year. That is a total of $5.8 million we have lost.
Or look at it this way. last year Alabama had 341,726 students in elementary classrooms (one through sixth.) At an average of 22 students per classroom, that is 15,533 classes. AAA has cost each one of these $4,437.
Do you know an elementary school teacher who wouldn’t love to have this much money to spend on supplies, etc.?