Feb. 12 was a double-header for school boards passing resolutions calling for a repeal of the Alabama Accountability Act. Bibb and Marion counties joined the previous seven systems to take such action. Others are: Baldwin, Jefferson,.Mobile, Montgomery, Randolph, Tallapoosa and Russellville city.
For those keeping score, these systems have 162,185 students, which is 22.4 percent of all in Alabama.
Of even more interest is that the collective legislative delegation for these systems is 45 House members and 24 senators. In other words, this many legislators represent school systems who are asking that the accountability act be repealed. Given that all politics is local, this sends a strong message to House and Senate members.
Like the previous systems that have called for repeal, both the Bibb and Marion resolutions call attention to money diverted from the Education Trust Fund and the impact on their schools. The total for Bibb is $637,000 and $641,000 for Marion.
Mike Oakley chairs the Bibb County board. He summed up why this county passed the resolution this way, “When you are a small, rural system, like ours with 3,100 students, you have to scratch and claw for every penny. It makes no sense for us to lose money just so someone in another county can have a scholarship to a private school.”
According to reports from scholarship granting organizations on file at the Revenue Department, they have collected $145 million in the last six years. Yet there are people, like the Alabama Policy Institute and Senator Del Marsh, who want us to believe this amount of money is such a piddling sum that it should not be missed by public schools.
And these are folks who claim to be CONSERVATIVES? Do they honestly believe $145 million is pocket change? If they would visit places like Bibb and Marion counties, they would see the real world where people count every penny.