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State Sen. Barfoot says school choice will come up every year until it passes — ‘I’m passionate about it’

Earlier this year, State Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston) introduced “The Parents’ Choice Act,” which would create education savings accounts. The money in the accounts would be able to follow students to the schools of their parents’ or guardians’ choice.

Marsh’s “mother of all school choice bills” was sent to a study commission in February, a sign that it’s unlikely to pass this session.

One of the bill’s cosponsors, State Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road), said even if it didn’t pass this year, the momentum was there to pass it in the near future.

Wednesday on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program,” Barfoot discussed the importance of passing more school choice options in the Yellowhammer state.

“We have a responsibility to make sure that our kids have the best education we can,” he argued, “and parental choice is a part of that.”

The state senator said that the school choice issue wasn’t going away anytime soon.

“I believe that you will see it next year and the year after and the year after until we make those changes,” he continued, “and I’m passionate about it.”

While Barfoot is a strong supporter of the bill, he said he’s not very optimistic it would pass this session.

“We’re kind of getting in the short roads now,” he lamented. “While I’d say I hope it does, I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Barfoot also reiterated that more options for parents and students would go a long way in helping education in Alabama.

“Whether my kids go to a parochial school, a charter school, a public school, a private school, homeschool, state tax dollars are spent,” he said. “It would give the parents the freedom to choose where they’re going to spend the state tax dollars for their child to receive the proper education.”

He concluded by explaining his approach when it comes to fixing education and other problems in the state.

“First of all figure out if there is a problem,” he said. “Second of all what is the solution to the problem if there truly is a problem? If one of those solutions is money let’s make sure we exhausted all other remedies, and then if we come to the money is the only solution, or part of the solution, we need to figure out exactly what that dollar figure is. A penny more, and we’ve cheated the taxpayers. A penny less and not only have we’ve cheated the taxpayers, but we haven’t resolved the problems.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” Weekdays 9-11am on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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