Alabama school choice advocates encouraged by SCOTUS ruling on funding

Alabama Christian Academy in Montgomery is one of more than 400 private schools in the state serving more than 85,000 students. The academy has prided itself for giving students the opportunity to experience a Christ-centered education for almost 80 years.

Editor’s note: This article appeared Tuesday on aldailynewscom.

School choice advocates in Alabama say they are encouraged by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on private and religious schools and state funding.

The high court ruled 6-3 that it is unconstitutional for Maine’s K-12 tuition support program for private schools to exclude religious schools. Chief Justice John Roberts noted in the majority opinion that although states don’t have to give money for private education at all, they cannot do so while excluding religious schools.

In Alabama, advocates said the decision will be beneficial for Alabamians who are continuing to fight for parents’ right to choose their children’s schools.

“I think it shows that the right thing to do is to fund children, not school systems,” said Rep. Charlotte Meadows, R-Montgomery about last week’s decision. “It clears the way for us to have a school choice act that doesn’t get caught up in a lawsuit.”

Alabama lawmakers in recent years have proposed taxpayer money be used to send children to private schools. The latest of these attempts was the Parents’ Choice Act sponsored by Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Meadows. The bill, which Marsh called “the mother of all school choice bills,” ultimately failed during the 2022 legislative session.

The Parents’ Choice Act would have created education savings accounts where parents could keep a certain amount of money that they would’ve paid in taxes for public education and use it to fund their child’s schooling at the institution of their choice.

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