About The Alabama Federation For Children
The Alabama Federation for Children is dedicated to promoting educational choice in by creating, protecting and expanding educational opportunities in Alabama that will allow children to attend the public, charter or private school that serves them best.
What is Educational Choice
Educational choice means eliminating financial and geographic barriers so that parents may select the best schools for their children—public or private.
Every child deserves a high-quality education. But too often, low-income and lower middle-income children are forced to attend schools that are not a good fit for them. Their parents cannot afford to move to a neighborhood with a public school that better suits their need, and they cannot afford private school tuition. Finding a schools that meets a child's individual needs shouldn't depend solely on a zip code.
Neither public nor private schools have a monopoly on school quality. However, every child and the learning environment they thrive in is unique. Educational choice removes the barriers that prevent most parents from placing their children in the right school for them. It also allows public and private schools the opportunity and motivation to innovate and create new models for educating children.
The Alabama Federation for Children fights on behalf of these children—and their families—and works to change laws so that low-income families can access the best schools for their children.
What Does School Choice in Alabama Look Like
Thanks to the passage of the Alabama Accountability Act in 2013, parents in Alabama are getting the opportunity to exercise choice when it comes to their child’s education. The Accountability Act gives families two options.
First, the Accountability Act creates tax credits for families with students in a failing school to attend a nonpublic school or non-failing public school. Families with children who are zoned for and enrolled in a failing school may receive an income tax credit to offset the cost of sending their child to a non-failing public school or a private school. The income tax credit a parent receives is equal to 80% of the average annual state cost of attendance for a public K-12 student during the respective tax year (currently around $3500), or the actual cost of attendance in a non-failing public or private school, whichever is less. Families are entitled to receive the tax credit until their child completes the grade levels at the failing school for which they are zoned. This is designed to give families with children “stuck” in a failing school another option.
Second, the Accountability Act created a scholarship tax credit program. This program was designed to provide scholarships to students who would like to attend a nonpublic school, but are unable to afford the cost of tuition. These scholarships are funded through charitable contributions made by businesses and individuals to nonprofit Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) that provide these scholarships to eligible children. At least 75% of first-time scholarship recipients must be used for students who were previously enrolled in a public school. The organization also must allocate a large portion of its funds for low-income eligible students.
To get more information on either the individual tax credit or the scholarship tax credit program, please visit the Department of Revenue website. You can also access a list of the current Scholarship Granting Organizations and their contact information here. You can also visit our contact page to ask any questions you have.
IN the news
State Director, Alabama Federation for Children