The Senate Democratic Caucus told reporters Friday morning that there is no way to fix the Alabama Accountability Act.
"The governor has seen the light and now he wants to do something about it" Sen. Hank Sanders, D – Selma, said of the governor's last minute effort to change the bill with an executive amendment.
Democrats have said since the bill passed on February 28th that the measure that provides tax credits to the parents of children in failing schools for them attend better public or private schools, that they were run over during the legislative process. The law also created a scholarship program for children to leave failing schools.
Sen. Quinton Ross said, "We want to go back to the original bill" referring to the first version of what became the Accountability Act, that created "flexibility" for school systems.
Gov. Bentley had touted that as a possible education reform for at least two years. Flexibility allows school systems to petition the State Board of Education for waivers from some state laws and guidelines with the goal of improving instruction.
Democrats were very critical of the governor's handling of the bill from the start. "He stood right here and talked about how historic it was" Sen. Ross, D – Montgomery, said.
Sen. Ross added, "He had 79 days to make a decision on the AAA and he didn't do anything."
Gov. Bentley introduced an executive amendment to the AAA Wednesday afternoon that would delay the tax credits and scholarship program for two years until the 2015-16 school year.
Sen. Del Marsh, the Senate's top member, announced Thursday evening that he would not bring up the governor's proposal for consideration.
Senate Democrats said they were undecided on whether they would support the governor's executive amendment, even if it was brought up for a vote.
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