SPLC Files Lawsuit Against Accountability Act

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By Alabama News Network

Alabama's school accountability act draws more fire with a new lawsuit against it.

 
That's the law giving tax credits to families with students at failing schools to transfer them to other schools, including private ones.
 
The Southern Poverty Law Center says the law is unconstitutional and is going to court to try to stop it. 
 
The SPLC is claiming that the accountability act doesn't help everyone who needs it. They're saying it's trapping some students at failing schools, particularly in the Black Belt. 
 
Mariah Russaw has a grandson who she says is stuck in a failing school at Barbour Junior High in Clayton. She's worried he'll run into the same problem she had.
 
"I don't have the transportation to take him to another school. And I want him to get the best education there is in the world for him to get in order to achieve a goal. Something I wanted to achieve in life and wasn't able to do," said Russaw.
 
SPLC President Richard Cohen says there's no where else for these students to go to school if their families want to move them somewhere else. He says other public schools are too far away and not enough private schools are participating. 
 
Governor Robert Bentley said in a statement, he disagrees. 
 
He says, "The Alabama Accountability Act is designed to help students in all public schools, no matter where they are located.  The law gives flexibility to all public schools so they can customize education to meet the needs of their students."
 
But the SPLC isn't the only group coming down hard on the Accountability Act. The Alabama Education Association says that with the first day of school, people are already feeling the impact.
 
"Parents and school teachers all across Alabama are having to pull money out of their pockets to provide for the most basic of classroom supplies, yet we're giving 40 million dollars of the state's money to the parents of private school children," said AEA Executive Secretary Henry Mabry. 
 
The AEA filed a lawsuit of its own back in March.
 
The SPLC suit is looking to permanently block the accountability act
 

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