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Ivey to sign ‘historic’ school choice legislation

MONTGOMERY What is being hailed as landmark school choice legislation by state officials, the CHOOSE Act will become law today.

The Alabama Senate voted Wednesday to pass Gov. Kay Ivey’s education savings account bill, the CHOOSE (Creating Hope & Opportunity for Our Students’ Education) Act. The bill first passed the Alabama House on Feb. 27, and Wednesday’s Senate approval clears the way for the governor’s signature.

“Today, we’ve finally overcome the last hurdle in enacting Alabama’s historic education savings account plan after the Alabama Senate strongly approved the CHOOSE Act,” Ivey said. “While our state has a strong public education system, all Alabama families will soon have the right to choose their children’s schools.

“I look forward to signing the CHOOSE Act into law.”

The governor credited the bill’s passage to Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed and Sen. Arthur Orr, who guided the bill through the Senate.

“I am grateful for their efforts as well as our partners in the State House for maximizing education freedom in Alabama,” Ivey said. “We want every Alabama student – whether they are at a public school, private school, magnet, charter or homeschool – the opportunity to receive a high quality education.”

The bill provides education savings accounts for parents wishing to place their children in public, private, or home school environments, officials said.

Initially prioritizing students from low-income households and those with disabilities, access to the program would widen to all eligible families by the 2027-2028 academic year.

“Today Alabama put school children and their families first,” Reed said. “Children are our future, and there is no greater responsibility for lawmakers than ensuring our kids have every resource needed for academic success regardless of their ZIP Code. We want our children to achieve their dreams and reach their full potential, and the CHOOSE Act provides this opportunity in a fiscally responsible way.

“I am proud of the investment we are making that will have a positive impact on our young students across Alabama.”

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said the measure requires schools to be accredited, demands accountability for taxpayers, and includes guardrails to ensure education dollars are protected and used as intended.

“Passage of the CHOOSE Act ensures every Alabama child – regardless of their family’s income or address – has the opportunity to receive a quality education that prepares them for high-paying, 21st century jobs,” he said. “As a committed school choice advocate, I understand that allowing parents to place their children in the learning environment that best meets their needs is far more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach to education.

“Alabama now ranks high among the nation’s leaders in school choice options.” –

 

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