As required by the new Alabama Accountability Act the State Department of Education released a list of so-called "failing schools" Tuesday. Parents with students in those schools can move their children to a non-failing public school or private academy and receive tax credits worth about $3,500 dollars annually. State Schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice says the 78 schools on the list are at various performance-levels within the definition of a failing school. Eight Montgomery schools landed on the list including six middle school, an elementary school and the Children Center. Parents of students in the listed schools will be notified of their options by July 1st.
School Tax Credits
Alabama's Department of Revenue says the state's new private school tax credits don't apply to students who are already in private schools, even if they are zoned for a failing public school. The department has been developing regulations to implement the Alabama Accountability Act, which the governor signed into law in March. State Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee said the law is clear that the tax credits are to offset the cost of transferring students out of failing public schools and it start with the semester beginning in August. She said tax credits for parents will depend on their child transferring to a private school that is accredited by an agency recognized by the state and that accepts scholarships provided under the new law.
State Employees Pay Raise
Scores of Alabama state employees are going to get their first raises in five years. Gov. Robert Bentley says he plans to reinstate merit raises starting Jan. 1st. They can be up to five percent annually for meritorious performance.