Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and supporting senators unveiled a plan on Tuesday to funnel $100 million of state money into a new form of “school choice”. Thirteen states have some form of education savings accounts – or ESAs. If SB61 becomes law ESAs could be available to some Alabama families by the beginning of the 2025/26 school year; those funds would cover as much as $7,000 in educational expenses for families who don’t want to send students to their local, zoned public school.
The state would prioritize support for low-income families and students with disabilities first, and then phase in-options for eligible families
Ivey’s education budget proposal is expected to be around $9.35 billion – and she is asking for $50 million for the CHOOSE Act to be funded as part of a $2.5 billion supplemental education allocation. Parents of eligible students would tap into an advance on their state income tax credit of up to $7,000 for each student enrolled in a participating school.
Starting with the FY26 budget the legislature would set aside a minimum of $100 million – which would fully fund about 14,300 ESAs for students attending participating schools – to fund the tax credit ESAs.
Parents are responsible for expenditures beyond $7,000. The Parents of homeschoolers could access $2,000 per student to fund eligible expenses up to $4,000 per family. For the first two years of the program, eligibility would be limited to families whose adjusted gross income did not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level.