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API Adds School Choice Bills to Legislative Scorecard as Key ‘Yes’ Votes

Birmingham, Ala. – Today (March 15th, 2022) the Alabama Policy Institute (API) announced the addition of two school choice bills, Senator Marsh’s SB302 and Senator Roberts’ SB261, to its legislative scorecard–the API Watchlist. 

Currently, charter schools in Alabama are not funded equally with other public schools. SB302 would remedy this by requiring local dollars to flow equally to all public schools in a district. The bill was given a favorable report in committee on Thursday and is headed to the full Senate.

SB261, meanwhile, strengthens the Alabama Accountability Act by allowing taxpayers to donate more to the program and also permits funds to be spent within three years (instead of annually) which will help scholarship granting organizations plan better for scholarship distributions.

API has been outspoken this year in support of the Parent’s Choice Act, this session’s original school choice legislation, which is also a Key “Yes” Vote. We are disappointed that this bill, which would have granted opportunity for a better education to every single Alabama student regardless of zip code or income, will likely not pass in 2022. We are thankful, however, that legislators recognize the need to move Alabama forward towards greater school choice, even if the measures themselves are tempered.

“These bills are important next steps in improving Alabama’s education system,” Caleb Crosby, API President and CEO said. “We hope and expect the legislature, conservatives and liberals together, to do the right thing and pass this legislation. The future of our state depends on it. Alabama cannot afford to sit by and do nothing while our state remains at the bottom in education.”

HB459, sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, and HB393, sponsored by Rep. Charlotte Meadows, are the respective House versions of these bills. They will also be considered Key ‘Yes’ votes on this year’s legislative scorecard, the API Watchlist. As detailed at alabamapolicy.org/watchlist, Key Votes may be given different weights in comparison to other bills based on significance and impact.

Learn more about the API Watchlist at alabamapolicy.org/watchlist.