Lawsuit Filed to Stop School Flexibility Act, Democrats Pledge to Repeal Bill

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By Ashley Thompson

A judge will soon decide whether the Governor can sign a controversial education bill. Today, opponents and supporters of the School Flexibility Act go to court to debate the future of the recently passed bill.

The Alabama Education Association filed a lawsuit to stop the School Flexibility Act from becoming law. The lawsuit states that republicans violated the open meetings act when they revised the original nine page bill into a twenty-seven page bill without minority help.

The School Flexibility Act, which gives tax credits to parents who move their children from failing public schools to private schools has created an uproar among legislators. After republican revision, the School Flexibility Act became the newly named School Accountability Act, which included different provisions. Democrats say the bill was passed dishonestly.

"They knew they couldn't pass the bill that was vetted to the public," says Representative Patricia Todd. "So every citizen of the state, if you believe in democracy in America, you should be outraged about what happened last Thursday."

After the Senate approved the bill 22-10, Governor Bentley said certain legislators had to be excluded.

"I think the conscious decision to not include them was to pass the bill," he said. "I think they did oppose it so I think that sometimes you have to do what is necessary to get a piece of legislation passed and that's exactly what was done."

The Governor says he feels the bill is the 'most unique thing that has happened to education' and supports it because he feels it will improve school systems throughout the state.

"We can't get lost in all of this legal stuff and talk about tax credits and all this. The flexibility is so important to these school systems and it's something that I've wanted. It's something that schools have wanted. They can become a better school system. We don't want any failing schools in this state."

Democrats say certain procedures were violated by republicans trying to pass the bill. House Minority Leader Craig Ford says the Governor isn't playing fair.

"He admitted that he's going against the whole process of Democracy and it's the arrogance of the Republican party that they just don't care what the people of Alabama think," says Ford.

 

Democrats want a temporary restraining order that will keep the bill from being signed by the Governor until a full hearing on the way it was passed is held.

Judge Charles Price says he will have a ruling on the matter Wednesday, March 6 2013.

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Jason said on Tuesday, Mar 5 at 9:17 PM

I am not outraged, public school is terrible in Mobile County. Thank you for the opportunity to better my child's education.

John said on Wednesday, Mar 6 at 7:17 AM

If the bill could not be passed without going into hiding, and without - as the Governor said - excluding some legislators from the legislative process, then it is not a good bill and certainly not good law. No one, Governor and legislators included, has the right to take the law into their own hands, to the exclusion of others. yes, Alabama has some terrible schools, and some great schools. It's about time to adopt standards that will improve the performance of ALL schools - in the open.

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