5 area schools labeled ‘failing’

Published 8:42pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Department of Education released the list of “failing” schools Tuesday in Montgomery, indicating the schools where parents are eligible for a state income tax credit that can be used to send their child to a private school.

Among the list are four schools in the Dallas County School System, while one school in the Selma City School System is on the list.

In the Dallas County system, Brantley Elementary, Keith Middle-High School, Southside High School and Tipton-Durant Middle School were listed as failing schools.

In Selma, R.B. Hudson Middle School was listed as a failing school.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Superintendent Tommy Bice, unveiled the list of 78 schools that had fallen to the standards established by the Alabama Legislature in creating what is known as the Alabama Accountability Act.

The tax credit, which has been estimated to be $3,500 per year per child, can be used to pay for tuition for private school or any non-failing public school.

Later in the day Tuesday, the Alabama Department of Revenue declared that those families, who already had their child enrolled in a private school — or non-failing non-public school — and lived in districts with a failing public school, would not be eligible for the tax credit.

“The language in the legislation clearly states a student needs to transfer,” state Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee said Tuesday in an Associated Press report. She said the transfer requirement will apply to the upcoming school year, and that students will need to have attended a failing school for at least a semester to transfer and qualify for a tax credit. Enrolling for a few days in August and then transferring won’t work, she said.

The Alabama Accountability Act also provides tax credits for individuals and businesses who donate to scholarship programs for students who need help in attending private school. The Department of Revenue determined that for parents of a student to get a tax credit, a private school must participate in the scholarship program and it must be accredited by a state-recognized accrediting agency.

To participate in the scholarship program, a private school must meet several requirements, including giving a state achievement test or nationally recognized test in math and English to scholarship recipients for the same grades that are tested in public schools.

Revenue officials said about 70 of Alabama’s private schools are currently in a position to qualify for the scholarship program, and the application forms will be ready July 1.


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