Alabama CHOOSE Act

The House chamber auditorium was packed with teachers and other interested parties as debate on HB129 The CHOOSE ACT began.

It became clear that the Democrats are not in support of the CHOOSE Act, as the discussions (filibustering) began even before the debate on HB129 began, as Democrat after Democrat attempted to have the bill removed from the Special Calendar.

Rep John Rogers (D HD52) stated the bill was an act of sacrilege. Depriving kids of a proper education. It’s going to rob kids of a public education by shifting funds to private and charter schools.

Rep Juandalynn Given (D HD60) This bill will create a form of segregation.

Numerous Democratic speakers came to the well to debate the bill’s sponsor Rep Danny Garrett (R HD44) with arguments that the bill will take funds away from the public school system, that some public schools might close if students take advantage of the program that will provide $7,000 per student or $2,000 per student for home schooling.

Amendments to the bill were offered up by several Republican members, 3 were tabled, 2 were approved.

The CHOOSE Act will be limited in its initial rollout. Families of 4 that have an income that is 300% of the Federal Poverty level or roughly $90,000. Families with students with special needs, military and lower income families will be part of the initial rollout.

The $100M funding does not come out of the ETF and must be approved annually by the legislative body. It’s estimated that approximately 15,000 students will have opportunity to participate during the first years of the program and if successful in its intent, will be made available to the families with students throughout the state.

The bill passed the House on a vote of 69-34.

 

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