State Dept. of Ed. tackles issue involving private schools - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

State Dept. of Ed. tackles issue involving private schools

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The Alabama State Department of Education is cracking down on private schools.

They're enforcing a law that has been on the books for years, but officials say they didn't know it.

Apparently, Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice and other administrators recently discovered this law that was passed 20 years ago, but wasn't being enforced.

Thursday, administrators met with some private school headmasters from across the state to explain the law.

Schools are now required to submit documentation proving they have certified teachers and proper curriculum.

The state will then grant them a license.

Schools must renew the license every two years.

Administrators say the reason is to ensure students are receiving a top-notch education and so the state simply knows all the private schools exist.

"That's what we're here for, we're here to help with education and help oversee and help make sure the children are protected and getting the education they so deserve," says Dennis Coe, Director of Supporting Programs for the Alabama State Department of Education.

Private schools that have been nationally accredited since 1984 do not have to apply for a license.

Also, schools associated with churches don't have to apply, but prove they're part of an existing church and supply contact information.

The push for licensure didn't come as a result of the new Alabama Accountability Act.

It will, however, play a role in making sure any private school accepting a child from a failing school is properly licensed.

The state is also requiring all private schools to be bonded.

Officials say this protects the tuition investment parents make if their private school closes.

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