The Republican sponsors of a bill to legalize charter schools have asked that it be carried over for the rest of the session, in effect killing the bill. Rep. Phil Williams, R-Huntsville, told the Montgomery Advertiser that a Senate version of the bill had been so weakened with amendments that there was little point letting it move forward.
The Senate version would have limited charter schools to Montgomery, Mobile, Huntsville and Birmingham with local lawmakers having to approve the charter schools in that county, and there would only be 20 allowed in the state. The Senate-approved legislation also would have allowed the state superintendent of education to take over failing schools if local officials did not address those schools and prohibited for-profit companies from operating the charter schools in the state.
The charter school defeat was a victory for the Alabama Education Association, which made it the focus of its lobbying efforts this year. After Democrats lost majorities in both houses of the legislature and AEA lost its long-time political boss, Paul Hubbert, the teacher union’s power appeared in decline, but beating this bill has shown the conventional wisdom might be wrong.
Hubbert’s successor at AEA, Henry Mabry, was comfortable taking credit for killing charter schools.
“If we’re being blamed for being a stumbling block against bad public policy, so be it,” he told the Advertiser.