House panel votes down charter schools plan

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A House committee has blocked Gov. Bob Riley's efforts to create innovative charter schools in Alabama.

The House Education Appropriations Committee voted 13-2 Wednesday to indefinitely postpone a bill by Republican Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Pelham to authorize creation of charter schools. The vote means the bill is probably dead for the current session.

A similar bill is pending in the Senate, but also appears to face considerable opposition.

Charter schools are public schools that don't have to follow the same rules as other schools. Riley has said charter schools can reach out to students in failing school systems by trying new approaches to help them achieve. Opponents say the state can't afford the new charter schools at a time when the education budget is facing major cuts.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)