Alabama Education Association executive director Amy Marlowe said Senator Del Marsh’s “parent choice bill” should instead be called the “No Provider Left Behind” bill and put cautions against rushing legislation through committee this week.
Marsh’s bill, which he said he plans to introduce and is expected to have approved by his first committee on Wednesday, would cut the state’s education trust fund by about $420. millions of dollars and would allow parents to apply to use that money to send their children to other public schools, private schools or homeschooling.
The bill would allow parents to request the opening of an education savings account and calls for a phased roll-out, which by the 2024-2025 school year would allow all students in the K-12 to transfer to another public school, private school, or home school and provide that student with the approximately $6,500 of current public school funding to do so. However, the bill does not require any public or private school to accept students.
Marsh told Alabama Daily News that his bill “would be a blow to the education trust fund of about $420 million,” but that it would allow parents to decide what is the better for their children.
The bill would establish a seven-member “Council of Parents’ Choice” to oversee the program.
Marlowe, in a statement to APR on Monday, expressed concern about how quickly Marsh said he thought his bill would get out of its first committee and warned against passing it without enough time for the public and the media are studying it.
Marlowe’s full statement is below.
“Senator Marsh’s Parent Choice Bill should be called exactly what it is: ‘No Provider Left Behind’ – a role play of a voucher program to divert money from schools Alabama communities. There is a complete lack of transparency regarding this egregious bill in rushing it to committee this week. Whether or not senators have had a chance to study the bill, introducing it this week and expecting it not only to be in committee, but to be eliminated from a committee by vote is amazing. A bill of this magnitude, which would cut more than $420 million from the Education Trust Fund, was rushed through committee without the opportunity for at least a week of scrutiny by the public and the media, which makes you wonder why Senator Marsh is in such a rush. to introduce this bill. By bringing this bill forward so soon, there is no time for education officials and the community to have their say – and with $420 million at stake – it is only necessary that every line of this bill law is properly scrutinized and scrutinized.
“We cannot ignore the warnings from the Education Budget Chairs as well as the State Chief Financial Officer stating that the excess funding raised over the past fiscal year, resulting in the unprecedented growth currently allocated to education, will not last. not long. Moreover, Alabama students and educators cannot afford to endure nearly half a billion dollars in public education.
“Instead of this foray to divert funds from public education, Senator Marsh should focus on the growing number of educator shortages in Alabama schools and the need for substantial salary increases for teachers. current educators who are already going beyond their normal duty. Private schools and education service providers, which are not as accountable as public schools, should not be able to receive $420 million embezzled from the ETF. The Alabama Education Association will work vehemently to fight this bill and protect the needs of our students and educators who are in public education.