by Dick M. Carpenter, Angela Erickson
Institute for Justice
May 01, 2014
In 2013, Alabama adopted the Alabama Accountability Act, an education reform measure that includes two new school choice. One program offers a tax credit to help offset the cost of tuition for families who move their children from “failing” public schools to a private school. The other encourages millions in new private school scholarships for lower-income families by offering a tax credit for corporate and individual donations to scholarship funds. Shortly after the reforms were adopted, the Alabama Education Association and others filed a lawsuit claiming the tax credits violate the state constitution’s prohibition on funding religious institutions. Not only does this argument contradict long-standing Alabama Supreme Court precedent, it also flies in the face of decades of similar programs already operating in Alabama. A ruling against the tax credits would jeopardize the hopes of children desperate to escape failing public schools and educational support for more than 15,000 other students.