MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WPMI) An Alabama circuit judge could rule Wednesday on whether the governor can sign into law a bill that would allow students at failing public schools to transfer to private schools, and give them a tax credit to do it.
"I will sign it and I will sign it this afternoon," said Governor Bentley Tuesday morning in Mobile.
A judge in Montgomery put a temporary halt on the bill before sent to the governor for his signature.
It's a bill that, if signed into law, would do two things: allow students in poorly performing schools to transfer to private schools and pay their way in tax credits, and allow school districts flexibility to improve the ways and methods they use to teach their students.
"This is to improve failing schools," said Bentley. "Because it is not fair for students who are trapped in these failing schools year after year after year without changes."
It's called the Alabama Accountability Act. But those who are seeking to block its approval are crying foul.
AEA leaders claim the bill was secretly approved and passed in an illegal manner, without any input from state educators.
Even Bentley seemed impressed at the way the bill was passed.
"Believe it or not, I'm surprised it was kept a secret," he said. "But it was."
And because of Tuesday afternoon's ruling, the bill is now on hold.
This doesn't mean the Accountability Bill is dead. Both sides will meet before the judge Wednesday morning in an effort to quash the bill or move it forward.
The AEA says the bill strips tenure from teachers at under performing schools, and "does untold damage to public education in Alabama."
And the governor?
"But you know, no lobbyist got any input into this bill," he said. "Isn't it kind of nice to have a piece of legislation that the elected officials came up with and the lobbyist had no input in? I think it's great!"
The governor especially likes the part of the bill that allows failing schools to alter their way of teaching in an effort to improve performance, calling it "the greatest gift we have ever given to our school systems."
The AEA claims the bill allows corporations access to millions of dollars in the Education Trust Fund.