The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

July 27, 2013

Few of state's private school participate in tax credits

(Continued)

The school prides itself on small classes that combine academic and religious instruction with lots of parental involvement. The school insists that parents or grandparents of new students attend weekly meetings.

Trippett said the Alabama Accountability Act opens up options for low-income parents who want their children to succeed but lack the resources to move them. She said she expects the parents of the new students to be like those of her current students.

"The common denominator of the parents is they will do anything for their children to succeed," she said.

In addition to Resurrection, the Revenue Department lists the participating schools as: Country Day School in Madison, the Capitol School in Tuscaloosa, Chambers Academy in Lafayette, Holy Spirit Catholic School in Tuscaloosa, Ellwood Christian Academy in Selma and Trinity Christian Academy in Oxford.

The Alabama Accountability Act provides a state tax credit of about $3,500 a year for parents who move their child from a failing public school to a non-failing public school or a private school. For those who can't afford tuition even with a tax credit, the new law allows individuals and groups that donate to organizations that provide scholarships to receive tax credits. So far, two such organizations have been approved by the state Revenue Department, and a third is awaiting approval.

For families to get state tax credits, their child's private school must agree to accept scholarship students. It must also give the scholarship students state achievement tests or nationally recognized tests to measure learning in math and language. Results must be provided to the state.

Williams said his school has no problem with that. He said none of his students pay the full cost of their educations, and the school raises money to help pay the bills. Those donors want to see academic results, too, he said.

Mears, whose organization represents 70 schools, agreed and said the Alabama Christian Education Association has no problem providing test results.

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