There are presently seven scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) giving out scholarships to private schools through the Alabama Accountability Act. They make quarterly reports and the one that covers July, August, September of 2019 has just been released. Since this report covers the start of a new school year, it is especially insightful.
Particularly since we are now having high school football playoffs.
While it is seldom discussed publicly, especially by those who support this legislation, it is no secret that some private schools make good use of AAA scholarships to boost their athletic programs.
Heading into the second week of football playoffs, there are 16 private schools still in competition in all seven football classifications. The just-released SGO reports show nine of these have scholarships. A grand total of 377 to be exact.
The biggest benefactor is McGill-Toolen in Mobile with 108. Next is Faith Academy, also in Mobile with 77. Montgomery Catholic Prep has 63, St. John Paul Catholic of Huntsville has 58 and Mobile Christian has 38.
Of the nine schools with scholarships, their overall record this season is 84 wins and 14 losses. In fact, four of them are undefeated as of this date.
As we all recall, when this legislation was passed in 2013 we were told its primary purpose was to help students stuck in struggling schools by their zip codes. No one said a word about touchdowns.
Editor’s note: The new quarterly reports show a total of 5,006 scholarships were awarded this school year, a sizeable jump from 3,685 in the same quarter last year. Of these, only 33.5 percent went to students “zoned” for failing schools. A total of $11.1 million was spent on these scholarships.
This program has now diverted more than $155 million from the Education Trust Fund since 2013. And is the primary reason 25 local school boards have passed resolutions calling for repeal of this legislation.