Senate President Pro-Tem wants to block Accountability Act - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Senate President Pro-Tem wants to block Accountability Act

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The architect of Alabama's new private school tax credits intends to block the Governor's proposal to delay the tax breaks for two years.
The new law provides tax credits for parents who send their children to private schools rather than public schools rated as failing.
Governor Robert Bentley said Tuesday he wants to delay the tax breaks until 2015 to give failing schools time to improve. His proposal will be pending on the Legislature's final meeting day Monday.
Marsh issued this statement Thursday:

  "We only have one constituency when it comes to education in Alabama and that's the children. For too long, students in failing schools have been stuck with the status quo and denied the opportunities they deserve.

"At this point there are two options: override the Governor's executive amendment or not take the executive amendment out of the Senate basket, which unfortunately will kill this good piece of legislation but it would leave the Accountability Act as passed earlier this session intact.

"Since the Accountability Act is already law, both of these options ensure that parents of children stuck in failing schools have school choice now, not in two years, and finally have the opportunity for a better education.

"We've worked too hard between both chambers of this Legislature to make school choice a reality and I refuse to kick the can down the road any longer. This is a good compromise bill and I'm disappointed that the Governor has proposed this executive amendment.

"Governor Bentley put it best after signing the Accountability Act into law when he said ‘All children deserve access to a quality education no matter they live and this provides a new option.' Thanks to conservative budgeting practices like the Responsible Budgeting and Spending Act, we can implement this law now in a fiscally responsible manner while providing much-needed school choice to students trapped in perpetually failing schools."

Governor Bentley's Press Secretary, Jennifer Ardis, issued a response to ABC 33/40:

"The Governor has received positive feedback from legislators and the public and hopes that all legislators will listen to the people and give the executive amendment an up or down vote on Monday.  We must pay back the Rainy Day Fund by 2015 and the Governor's executive amendment allows us time to pay back the money we owe while giving failing schools the flexibility to improve.  The Governor will continue to discuss this issue with the leadership and with House and Senate members."

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