Tag: charter schools

Proposal Changing Charter School Funding Has Potential Bipartisan Support

MONTGOMERY — As advocates for public charter schools push for more equal funding in the Alabama Legislature this year, an unlikely ally has emerged signaling potential bi-partisan support for the proposal.

Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D- Birmingham, a prominent voice in the state’s minority party, recently filed Senate Bill 387, similar to House Bill 487, sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, earlier this session.

These bills would make changes to the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act and allow for some local tax dollars to follow students to charter schools similar to how they would to any other school. Currently, both state and federal dollars follow students who leave traditional schools and enroll in charter schools, but local dollars do not.

“Many of these people are constituents and so they asked for some help in those areas, and that’s what the objective was, just to help them to provide them with some funds so that they could ease the burden on the students,” Smitherman told Alabama Daily News.

Alabama Democrats have historically been against expanding charter schools in the state and fought against the broad 2015 school choice legislation, arguing it would undermine traditional schools. Read more.

Bill to Increase Charter School Funding Passes Committee

MONTGOMERY — Legislation advanced Wednesday to change how local tax dollars fund charter schools, a move proponents say is needed to make their funding more equal to that of traditional public schools.

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, sponsored the 2015 legislation that allows charter schools in the state. “Over the last five years, we’ve learned some things we need to tweak,” Collins told Alabama Daily News. Read more.

Also in the Legislature

Alabama to Receive $4B From Biden Relief and Stimulus Plan

Senate Kills Lottery, Gambling Legislation

Bill to Limit Executive Branch Spending Advances

House Passes General Fund Budget that Increases Funding for State Agencies

Bill Stalled That Would Increase Penalties for Rioting

State Budgets, Legislative Authority, Gambling Bills in State House This Week

Public Records, Hairstyle Discrimination, Marijuana Among Issues Before Legislature

Alabama Charter Schools Group Awarded $25 Million Federal Grant

The U.S. Department of Education announced a $25 million grant today to support charter schools in Alabama. The money will go to New Schools for Alabama, an organization that encourages the growth of charter schools. Tyler Barnett, executive director of New Schools for Alabama, told WBHM in an earlier interview the money will help fund 15 schools. He said the group will focus on serving educationally disadvantaged students. Read more.

Proposed Charter School Plans to Serve LGBTQ Youth

Many students in Alabama who identify as LGBTQ say they don’t feel safe at school. Most, according to one survey, have been assaulted or harassed. Recently, an openly gay Huntsville teen who was bullied took his own life.

Organizers of a proposed charter school for LGBTQ students in Birmingham say they want to establish a place where young people can feel secure. Read more.

Bill Would Put Charter Funding on Par With Traditional Schools

MONTGOMERY — Legislation in the Alabama Senate would prevent local school systems from limiting the flow of per-student tax dollars to public charter schools.

Senate Bill 311 is sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, who said it clarifies that money for a child’s education stays with that child, no matter what school he or she attends. Marsh was the sponsor of the 2015 legislation that allowed for the creation of charter schools.

“It was always intended that on a local level the local funds that were allocated per child would also follow the student to the public charter school,” Marsh said this week.

Marsh said some existing public school systems have failed to cooperate with the charter school law. Read more.

State Commission Approves Birmingham Charter School


The Alabama Public Charter School Commission approved plans for a new charter school in Birmingham on Monday. The Birmingham school board rejected the i3 Academy application in January, and school organizers appealed to the state.

The next step is for i3 Academy and the state to negotiate a contract for the school. It will outline expectations for academic performance, school operations and finances, school officials said.

Tommy Bice, former state education superintendent, is part of the team working to open i3 Academy as a K-5 charter school in Woodlawn in 2020. Read more.