The list of local school boards calling for the repeal of the Alabama Accountability Act increased on Nov. 27 when the Tallapoosa County board joined with earlier efforts by Mobile, Baldwin and Montgomery school boards.
The vote was a unanimous 5-0. In fact, it was an enthusiastic unanimous. Dr. Betty Carol Graham, retired educator and a former four term member of the Alabama House of Representatives, said that she has been opposed to the legislation since it was enacted in 2013.
“The fact that this act takes money away from small school systems like ours (Tallapoosa County has three high schools and just under 3,000 students) makes no sense at all,” said superintendent Joe Windle. “We do an excellent job of managing our money–but every penny is important and we don’t need to take money from the state’s Education Trust Fund that could go into our classrooms.”
Here is the Tallapoosa resolution in its entirety:
TALLAPOOSA COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION DADEVILLE, ALABAMA
Resolution for Accountability Act Repeal
WHEREAS, the legislation known as the Alabama Accountability Act was passed in 2013 with no guidance or input from educators; and in a bait and switch operation and
WHEREAS, this act has caused a negative financial impact on Tallapoosa County
WHEREAS, this act was initially touted as a way to help students who attended “failing schools” by offering them a pathway to non-failing schools or scholarships to private schools; and
WHEREAS, various studies have consistently shown that less than 35 percent of all scholarships go to students “zoned” for “failing schools”; and
WHEREAS, research from the University of Alabama about academic achievement of students in the Alabama Accountability Act shows, “In 78 percent of the comparisons made between scholarship recipients and public school students, there was no statistically significant difference between the scholarship recipients and students attending public schools;” and
WHEREAS, each dollar designated for scholarships is a dollar diverted from the Alabama Education Trust Fund; and
WHEREAS, since 2013 the total amount of such donations is $146.6 million, which amounts to over $686,000 dollars for Tallapoosa County Schools; and
WHEREAS, the Tallapoosa County School System has struggled the last 14 years to meet one month operating expense and maintain a balanced budget; and
WHEREAS, AAA labels schools, faculty, staff and students as failing when academic growth is being shown in these schools each year;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Tallapoosa County Board of Education strongly recommends to the Alabama Legislature that the Alabama Accountability Act be repealed when the legislature meets in regular session in 2019.
Adopted this 27^ day of November, 2018