The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

March 5, 2013

Judge temporarily halts private school tax credits

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A Montgomery judge temporarily blocked the governor from signing a private school tax credit bill and set a hearing for Tuesday afternoon.

Circuit Judge Charles Price issued the order Tuesday morning after the Alabama Education Association, a teachers' group, sued a day earlier.

The teachers' group's suit argues the Legislature violated Alabama's open meetings law and its own operating rules when it passed the legislation with a quick series of votes Thursday night. AEA maintains the tax credits would hurt funding for public schools because Alabama's income tax supports public education.

A supporter of the bill, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said, "It's unfortunate that anyone would try to stop a bill that gives students in failing schools more options to receive a quality education."

The bill started out as a way to provide more flexibility to city and county school boards in complying with state education laws. After the House and Senate passed different versions, a Republican-dominated conference committee rewrote the bill and tripled it in size. The changes added tax credits for parents who decide to send their children to private schools rather than failing public schools. It also set up a scholarship program for parents who can't afford private school tuition, with businesses and individuals getting tax credits for contributing toward the scholarships.

The Alliance for School Choice said Alabama would become the 12th state with a tax credit program.

"I truly believe it is the most significant piece of legislation that's been passed in this Legislature in years," Gov. Robert Bentley said last week.

AEA's suit maintains the Republican majority on the conference committee violated the open meetings law by writing the new version in private without any public notice, and without including the two Democratic members of the committee.

Text Only
Local News
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee