PRIVATE SCHOOL TAX CREDITS
Alabama taxpayers contributing to get tax credits
MONTGOMEY, Ala. (AP) - Nearly 600 Alabama businesses and individuals are getting state tax credits by contributing to private school scholarship programs.
The tax credits were included in the Alabama Accountability Act that the Legislature passed in February. State Revenue Department spokeswoman Carla Snellgrove told al.com that 582 donors have given $19.5 million to organizations set up under the new law to provide scholarships to students who move from failing public schools to participating private schools.
The individuals and businesses receive a dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit for their donations up to a limit. The Accountability Act sets a $25 million annual limit on the total amount of tax credits.
State education officials say 52 students used the new law to transfer to private schools for the fall term.
State Rep. Jamie Ison of Mobile won't run again
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Republican state Rep. Jamie Ison of Mobile says she won't seek re-election next year.
Ison was elected to represent House District 101in 2002. She was re-elected in 2006 and 2010. Ison said Friday she will retire at the end of her term to focus her attention on her real estate career and her volunteer work.
During her three terms, Ison has chaired the Mobile County House delegation and the House state government committee. She has also served on the House education budget committee. She sponsored the 2012 legislation that increased the retirement age for new state employees.
Ala critics: School texts insult Christians
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's school board is postponing a decision on new school textbooks after conservatives complained they promote Islam and oppose Christianity.
State School Superintendent Tommy Bice asked for the delay Thursday following complaints by the Eagle Forum of Alabama and ACT for America.
The groups complained that 12 textbooks proposed for social studies classes have a pro-Muslim slant and are anti-Christian.
The Anniston Star reports that Larry Houck of ACT for American says sections on Christianity imply doubt about the divinity of Jesus. He says they include passages that are insulting to Christianity.
Most of the disputed texts are for use in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades.
Bice says the complaints came up late in the textbook process, and he plans to read the texts over the holiday break.
ALABAMA STATE PRESIDENCY
Trustees to vote on Alabama State president
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama State University trustees will soon vote on the next president of the university.
WAKA-TV reports that the trustees are scheduled to take up the matter at a meeting Dec. 20. A notice from the Alabama Secretary of State indicates that the board will meet to vote on the next president.
Members of a search committee last week interviewed three finalists for the job: state Sen. Quinton Ross Jr. of Montgomery; Gwendolyn Boyd of John Hopkins University; and retired Brig. Gen. Samuel Nichols Jr. of Virginia Friday afternoon.
The school is trying to replace Joseph Silver, who was suspended from the presidency and then left with a $685,000 severance package after three months on the job.
FIRE STATION CATCHES FIRE
Firefighters battling blaze at fire station
DANVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Firefighters from several different fire departments are battling a fire at the Danville Volunteer Fire Department.
WAFF-TV reports the fire started shortly after 6:30 a.m. Friday. Several agencies were called in to bring tanker trucks and fire trucks to help put out the fire.
Highway 157 from Hampton Road to Highway 55 West is closed while firefighters run hoses across the highway.
Authorities believe no one was inside at the time of the fire. No injuries have been reported.
'Bama fan seeks break in Auburn tree case
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - The University of Alabama fan who pleaded guilty to poisoning Auburn University's oak trees is asking a judge to reduce his monthly restitution payments to the school.
Harvey Updyke claims he can't afford the $500-a-month payments. Updyke is asking the court to reduce the payments to only $50 a month instead.
At that rate, it would take Updyke about 1,328 years to pay off the total.
Updyke pleaded guilty to poisoning the Toomer's Corner trees during Auburn's national championship run in 2010. He served about six months in jail and now lives in Louisiana.
This week, Updyke filed a court document stating his monthly gross income is $3,030, and the retiree lists monthly expenses of nearly $2,800.
Updyke says the $500 monthly restitution payment will impose a financial hardship.
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