The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 28, 2014

Judge overturns Alabama Accountability Act

(Continued)

AEA attorney Bobby Segall said the judge saw that the law promotes private schools at the expense of public schools. He called the law a throwback to the 1950s, when Alabama sought to avoid integration by directing public school funds toward private schools. "It is totally shameful," he said.

An attorney representing some families using the law, Bert Gall of the Institute for Justice, said, "Alabama parents should be able to choose the best education possible for their children, whether that's in a public or private school."

The chief designer of the law, Republican Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston, said, "This ruling to block school choice in Alabama is unfortunate largely because the law has already been successful in giving children more options to receive a quality education. I firmly believe this law will stand upon appeal."

Reese's ruling differed with one in April by U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins, who dismissed a separate suit filed by eight public school students represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

When the law went into effect, 719 students transferred from failing public schools to another school in the same school system, 18 to another public school system and 52 to private schools.

Reese said his ruling will not affect the tax credits earned for the 2013-2014 school year.

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