Stand Against SB140, School Defunding Legislation

Stand Against SB140, School Defunding Legislation

251 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
Petition to
Alabama State House and

Why this petition matters

Nationwide, Alabama ranks 42nd in funding and 41st in per pupil spending for K-12 education. In 4th grade reading proficiency, we rank 47th. In math, we rank dead last. There is a clear need for greater investment in our public education system. 

Some legislators see “school-choice” legislation as a tool to fix these fundamental issues. “School choice” initiatives provide families with monetary vouchers they can use to send their children to private schools or public schools outside of their district. While such a program may sound alluring, in reality, it would drain Alabama’s already paltry education budget. This legislative session, Senate Bill 140 (SB140) has been introduced to implement school choice in Alabama.

There are several serious reservations that Alabama’s students and educators have against this bill. Instead of addressing the issues in Alabama’s K-12 public school system, SB140 plans to divert funding from public schools to private schools and homeschooling. If enacted into law, SB140 would provide families with $5,500 education savings accounts (ESAs) to use for non-public schools. By the 2024-25 school year, all families - regardless of income - may apply for these accounts. If all 96,600 of Alabama’s private and homeschool students pulled from ESAs, Alabama’s Education Trust Fund would lose $537 million annually.

It is important to note that low income families can already seek vouchers for private schooling or public schooling outside of their district (see the Alabama Education Scholarship Program - a tax-credit scholarship program). While there may be merit to expanding such programs to increase available funds for low-income families, legislation that slashes K-12 education funding and provides handouts to wealthy families would harm Alabama’s low-income students.

Instead of addressing the underfunding and poor outcomes of our education system, SB140 would deepen existing divides in K-12 education.

After SB140 advanced from the Senate Education Policy committee, it was referred to a bipartisan commission to find compromise on the bill. We, the undersigned, stand against SB140 and any school-choice legislation that would defund public K-12 education while providing cash handouts to wealthy families. 

Contacting your state representatives about your opposition to SB140 is the most effective way to elicit change. You can find the contact information of your state representative and state senator by entering your address here.

You can find the full text of SB140 here

251 have signed. Let’s get to 500!