Governor's Statement: School Flexibility Bill

Full statement from Governor Robert Bentley's office:

Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday announced he will sign the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013, a measure that will help ensure that more students have access to a high-quality education.

"This is historic education reform that will benefit students and families across the state," Governor Bentley said.  "Local school systems will have the flexibility to make more decisions on behalf of their students.  Families will have new options if their children are stuck in failing schools.  All children, regardless of their family's income or where they live, will have the opportunity to receive a quality education."

"As promised, this bill gives school districts flexibility without infringing on the rights and responsibilities of our classroom teachers," Governor Bentley added.  "This bill shows that we have confidence in our local educators to know what's best for their students."

Under the legislation (House Bill 84 – School Flexibility), school systems will be able to create flexibility plans that will be submitted for review and approval by local and state education leaders.  The legislation requires public hearings and public input before any school flexibility plans are approved.  As a condition of increased flexibility, school districts will be required to show improved outcomes of student achievement.

The bill creates tax credits for families with children who attend persistently low-performing schools.  The credits will give those children new options by providing credits to attend a non-failing public school or a non-public school.  The legislation also creates tax credits for businesses that donate to nonprofits that provide scholarships for students to attend non-failing public schools or non-public schools.

"I appreciate the hard work of the legislative leadership, the bill's sponsors and everyone who worked together to give our schools and families greater flexibility," Governor Bentley said.  "Students will benefit as a direct result of the legislation approved tonight."