Private school benefits from state's new education law - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Private school benefits from state's new education law

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Ms. Thomas teaches her 8th grade science class at Resurrection Catholic School. Ms. Thomas teaches her 8th grade science class at Resurrection Catholic School.
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

More than 50 children across the state have taken advantage of the state's new accountability law.

It allows students to transfer from failing public schools to private schools and receive a tax credit.

Nearly half of those students are now attending a Montgomery school.

"My class size has definitely increased due to the Accountability Act," says Alesha Thomas.

There are 15 students in Ms. Thomas' 8th grade science class at Resurrection Catholic School.

Believe it or not, that's a lot compared to last year.

It's a good sign for Father Manuel Williams, who says Resurrection School wanted to enroll 50 more students this year.

The Accountability Act, "was fortuitous to say the least," says Williams.

WSFA 12 News spoke with school directors a few months ago after they opted in to the program.

Resurrection Catholic is one of four Montgomery private schools that did.

Our story prompted "over 80 phone calls. That said to us there is a market out there. There are people who want the services," adds Williams.

The school accepted roughly 20 students--transferring from failing Montgomery Public middle schools.

"They are already showing a lot of promise academically.  They seem like they're being more attentive. They're turning in their homework and their test grades so far are wonderful," says Thomas.

School leaders say they knew many of the parents interested in sending their children to school at Resurrection Catholic might not have had the $4,000 dollars in tuition money needed at the beginning of the school year. State tax credits aren't divvied out until the spring. That's why the principal went across the nation gathering donations to cover those up front costs.

"We raised about 75-thousand dollars," says Williams.

Parents will pay the school back using their tax credit.

Father Williams says it will cover most of their child's tuition, leaving roughly $700 dollars in out of pocket costs.

"We've tried to work with those who can't who can perhaps pay 50% of that or 60% of that," says Williams.

St. Jude Educational Institute, Montgomery Catholic High School and Churchill Academy are also participating in the program.

St. Jude and Montgomery Catholic have not enrolled any students as a result of the new law.

Churchill Academy has not responded.

Copyright 2013  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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