Senator, Superintendent and AEA File Lawsuit Over Accountability Act

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By Ashley Thompson

Another lawsuit has been filed against the Alabama Accountability Act, claiming the way in which the law was passed broke Senate rules.

This lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court. Those who filed it say the Alabama Accountability Act violated the constitution when it was passed.

Senator Quinton Ross says the Alabama Accountability Act was changed from an eight page bill into a 28 page bill without minority help, before it was passed abruptly in the Senate.

"Number one, you had an ill-advised, irresponsible super majority pass a piece of legislation that really was detrimental to the education trust fund in the state of Alabama," he says.

Though Political Analyst Steve Flowers says that may not be reason enough to file the lawsuit.

"That's probably not illegal because there's been some precedence to say that even when the democrats were in power, they used some of the same chicanery."

But Ross says it's not just the way the bill was passed but also what the law does, gives tax credits to parents who move their kids from failing public schools into non-failing public schools or private schools. And there are two others named in the lawsuit who agree with Ross, the president of the Alabama Education Association, Anita Gibson and Lowndes County Public School Superintendent, Daniel Boyd.

"Using public school dollars to fund private schools or parochial schools, that's just not the way that the education trust fund is set up," Ross says.

The three are suing the Comptroller of the state of Alabama and the Commissioner of Revenue because they're the ones responsible for giving out the tax credits. The Commissioner declined Alabama News Network's request for an interview and a spokesperson with the department said the department does not comment on ongoing court actions or litigation.

The plaintiffs want to law stopped dead in it's tracks. But Flowers say the chances of that happening are slim.

"A Montgmery circuit judge may very well rule in favor of the plaintiffs but it doesn't make any difference because the state supreme court is going to rule in favor of the republicans anyway."

Senator Bryan Taylor, who supports this law, tells us he wished the bill would have passed differently but says he believes this law gives parents and children equal opportunity for success.

 

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