Alabama court to hear Accountability Act appeal

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The Alabama Supreme Court will hear arguments on the state government’s appeal of a judge’s ruling striking down the Alabama Accountability Act.

The case is third on the court’s docket for a hearing that starts at 9 a.m. on Dec. 3 in Montgomery.

The Accountability Act provides state income tax credits for parents to help cover the cost of moving children from public schools rated as failing to private schools. It also provides tax credits for individuals and businesses that contribute to scholarships for low-income students to attend private schools rather than public schools.

Members of the state teachers’ organization challenged the law in court. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Gene Reese ruled it unconstitutional in May. State officials and some parents are appealing his ruling.

Reese said the law was unconstitutional because the Legislature changed the bill from its original purpose, which was to provide school systems more flexibility in complying with state education regulations, and added tax credits on the day the bill won approval in the House and Senate. He said the legislation is also unconstitutional because the Legislature covered more than one topic in the bill, and it violated a requirement that income tax revenue allocated for education be used only for public school teacher salaries.

The judge has allowed the Accountability Act to remain in effect during the appeal.

Two previous lawsuits, one in federal court and one in state court, failed to stop the Accountability Act.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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