Hicks believes funds better spend on AMSTI

Published 7:23 pm Friday, September 13, 2013

Troy City Schools Superintendent Lee Hicks agrees with an Alabama lawmaker who says the Accountability Act has failed.

Only about 50 students have transferred to private schools from failing schools under the Accountability Act and 59 of the state’s almost 400 private schools have agreed to accept transfer students, according to figures from the Alabama Department of Revenue.

The Alabama Accountability Act calls for parents of students choosing to transfer their children from schools that are considered failing to receive tax credits of about $3,500 if they transfer their children to private schools.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

House Minority Leader Craig Ford, of Gadsden, said he’d like to see the state reallocate the $40 million meant for tax credits for parents and scholarship providers under the Accountability Act to supplement and expand the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative.

“I think when the law was passed, legislators thought this was going to turn out a different way,” Hicks said.

Although there are no failing schools in Pike County, Hicks said the Accountability Act still affects local schools.

“When money is allocated through the state it goes into the educational trust fund and is divvied out to all the schools,” Hicks said. “Whenever you cut that dollar amount down, it definitely hurts school systems.”

Hicks said, with federal sequestration occurring at the same time, many school systems are in a deficit-type spending.

Hicks said he also agrees with Ford that AMSTI is a good place to look at reallocating Accountability Act funds.

“AMSTI is a wonderful program we have here in the state and I would love to see the money go toward something that would help students in public schools.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.