County BOE opposes Accountability Act

Published 2:11 am Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Becomes 3rd local group to call for repeal of 2013 bill

The Covington County Board of Education became the third local board to approve a resolution calling for the repeal of the state’s 2013 Alabama Accountability Act, which costs local schools more than $1 million over the past five years. 

The Alabama Accountability Act allows taxpayers to donate to scholarship granting organizations, known as SGOs, who then distribute scholarships to low-income students in Kindergarten through 12th grade from districts which have “failing schools” to use in participating non-public schools.

Donors can count the contribution as a credit against their Alabama income tax liability, which critics say has hurt the state’s Education Trust Fund, which funds public schools.

“Covington County Schools has lost over $586,000 since the implementation of this act,” Superintendent Shannon Driver said. “County-wide, our three systems have lost well over $1 million in revenue.”

Driver said those figures were calculated by the Alabama Department of Revenue.  Fewer than 35 percent of the scholarship funded as a result of the act go to students transferring from failing schools, he said.

Board chairman Sonny Thomasson said the act is  “lose-lose” situation for Covington County.

“We have no failing schools here, and no private schools,” he said.

Driver said the effort by school systems across the state to approve resolutions like this one are designed to first, thwart an effort to expand the Accountability Act, and hopefully get it repealed.