Bentley considers change to school accountability

Alabama State Capital, Montgomery, Alabama (MGN Online)
Alabama State Capital, Montgomery, Alabama (MGN Online)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Gov. Robert Bentley indicated Monday that he was reviewing the schools accountability act and is considering changes to the bill that would give parents tax credits so students could transfer from failing schools.

It wasn’t immediately clear what Bentley wanted to change. Bentley’s spokesman Jeremy King said late Monday the governor had still not decided what to do with the bill. If he sends the bill back to the Legislature with executive amendments, it could dominate the final day of the 2013 legislative session next Monday.

The bill was passed when the Republicans called for a surprise vote Feb. 28 with few Democratic lawmakers present, angering many of them. Democrats said they whey were expecting a vote on a bill that would give local school systems more flexibility, but not make the changes made in the accountability act.

Much focus was on the tax credits portion of the bill, which could affect six percent of students. Bentley has stressed that other sections of the bill will help all students and districts.

The Senate president-pro tem, Republican Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston, said he and the Republican governor have the same feelings about using tax credits and scholarships to help children get out of failing schools.

“I look forward to talking with the governor about any technical changes he may want to see made to the bill,” Marsh said.

House Minority Leader, Democratic Rep. Craig Ford of Gadsden, said the governor should veto the act and start over rather than trying to fix the bill.

“We could then come back next session and have and open and honest debate,” Ford said.

GOP House Speaker Mike Hubbard said the governor should leave the bill in its current form or just make technical changes.

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