- Associated Press - Saturday, September 20, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Five things to know about the Alabama Accountability Act:

LEGAL STATUS: Montgomery County Circuit Judge Gene Reese ruled the law violates the state Constitution, but it is continuing to operate while state officials appeal his ruling to the Alabama Supreme Court.

GROWTH: The chief architect of the Accountability Act, Republican Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston, said he’s looking at increasing the $25 million in annual tax credits that go to businesses and individuals for donating an equal amount toward scholarships for low-income students to attend private schools. He pointed to Florida’s program, which started at $50 million and is now at $357 million.

PROBLEMS: The state approved eight scholarship granting organizations to raise money in 2013. Two chose not to return for 2014 and one, Circle of Love Outreach in Selma, was removed for failure to file the required annual report, said Curtis Stewart, deputy state revenue commissioner.

DEADLINE: Scholarship granting organizations must award their scholarships through Sept. 15 to low-income students zoned for a failing public school. After that, the remaining scholarships can be awarded to low-income students who are not zoned for a failing public school.



MIDDLE SCHOOL: Parents of middle school students have shown the most interest in the scholarship program. Alabama’s largest scholarship granting organization, the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund, awarded 64 percent of its scholarships to students in grades 6-8. Its average scholarship is $6,300.

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