Alabama school districts

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K-12 Education in Alabama
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Tommy Bice
Number of students: 744,621[1]
Number of teachers: 47,723
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:15.6
Number of school districts: 170
Number of schools: 1,618
Graduation rate: 75%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $8,562
See also
Alabama Department of EducationAlabama school districtsList of school districts in AlabamaAlabamaSchool boards portal
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Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Alabama
Glossary of education terms
Alabama is home to 1,618 schools and 744,621 K-12 students.[3]

Quick facts

State school administrators


The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment, academic performance on the Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test (ARMT) and per-pupil spending.[4][5]

Student enrollment, 2011-2012 (ARMT) scores for 8th grade reading, 2011-2012[5] Per-pupil spending, 2011-2012[4]
1.) Mobile County Public Schools 1.) Cullman City Schools 1.) Homewood City School District
2.) Jefferson County Schools 2.) Mountain Brook City Schools 2.) Sylacauga City Schools
3.) Montgomery Public Schools 3.) Arab City Schools 3.) Tuscaloosa County School System
4.) Baldwin County Public Schools 4.) Vestavia Hill City Schools 4.) Coosa County School District
5.) Shelby County Schools 5.) Madison City Schools 5.) Auburn City Schools
6.) Birmingham City Schools 6.) Winfield City Schools 6.) Vestavia Hills City Schools
7.) Huntsville City Schools 7.) Hoover City Schools 7.) Choctaw County School District
8.) Madison County Schools 8.) Demopolis City School District 8.) Hoover City Schools
9.) Tuscaloosa County School System 9.) Boaz City School District 9.) Mountain Brook City Schools
10.) Hoover City Schools 10.) Piedmont City School District 10.) Sheffield City Schools


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Alabama as reported in the Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[6]

Demographic information for Alabama's K-12 public school system compared with surrounding states
State American Indian/Alaska Native Asian/Pacific Islander Black Hispanic White Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl Other
Alabama 0.83% 1.34% 34.18% 4.66% 58.11% 0.04% 0.84%
Tennessee 0.19% 1.66% 23.34% 6.63% 67.08% 0.1% 1%
Georgia 0.22% 3.39% 37.01% 12.18% 44.11% 0.11% 2.98%
Mississippi 0.2% 0.95% 49.62% 2.57% 46.01% 0.03% 0.62%
United States 1.1% 4.68% 15.68% 24.37% 51.21% 0.42% 2.54%
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.[7]

In the news

Plan 2020

Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, the Alabama Department of Education replaced the No Child Left Behind Act with Plan 2020, a new way of measuring student achievement in the state. In addition to eliminating the Alabama High School Graduation Exam as the only path to graduation and switching to college and career readiness standards to judge student progress, Plan 2020 set achievement goals meant to close the achievement gap between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. While the No Child Left Behind Act set the goal of having 100 percent of all students be proficient in math and reading, Plan 2020 set different proficiency goals for students based on subgroups. There are nine subgroups within the plan: American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, black, white, multi-race, English language learners, poverty and special education. Plan 2020 gave each subgroup an improvement goal for each year from its start in 2013 until 2020. Under the plan, all students will be at the same proficiency level by 2020.[8][9]

Rev. Schmitt Moore, a member of the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education, said it was unfortunate that different groups of people were separated in academic performance but that Plan 2020 set goals for lower-performing subgroups in a fair way, starting with where they were and expecting them to improve from there. Tuscaloosa City Schools Board of Education Member James Minyard agreed with Moore, believing the plan was fair as long as it required every subgroup to reach the end proficiency goal at the same time.[8]

Marvin Lucas, another member of the Tuscaloosa City Schools Board of Education, did not think the plan should set lower expectations for any child. Instead, he thought early intervention should be stressed, such as starting school earlier and working with children who are falling behind during the summer.[8]

Harry Lee, another member of the Tuscaloosa City Schools Board of Education, expressed surprise by Plan 2020's separation of students based on subgroups, as he thought the state should be focused on teaching students all the same.[8]

Plan 2020 was passed by the Alabama Department of Education and approved by the U.S. Department of Education.[8] An overview presentation of Plan 2020 can be found here.

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Alabama Department of Education adopted the standards on November 18, 2010. Full implementation is scheduled to be achieved in the 2014-2015 academic year.[10][11]

School board composition

Alabama school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed. School boards can have as few as five members or as many as 21.[12] School board members serve four-year or six-year terms, depending on the district.[13]

District types

Alabama has two main types of school districts: county school districts and city school districts. There are also a few schools that constitute their own school district, such as the Alabama School of Math & Science, the Alabama School of Fine Arts and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind.[12]

Term limits

Alabama does not impose statewide term limits on school board members.[13]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: Alabama school board elections, 2015

No top enrollment districts in Alabama are scheduled to hold elections in 2015.

Path to the ballot

To qualify as a school board candidate in Alabama, an individual must be:[13]

  • At least 18 years of age
  • A U.S. citizen
  • A registered voter
  • A resident of the state for at least one day
  • A resident of the school district that the candidate seeks to represent for at least one year prior to the election.

Campaign finance

Alabama requires candidates to form campaign committees as soon as they become candidates. This can happen in one of two ways, either when they reach the disclosure threshold of $1,000 or by filing for office with the appropriate election official. Candidates are also required to file a Statement of Economic Interests form when they file as a candidate. Candidates who have not reached the disclosure threshold of $1,000 even after filing for office are not required to file campaign finance reports until they reach the threshold.[14]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. Alabama State Department of Education, "Quick Facts," accessed August 6, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 Homesurfer, "School District Ranking Report," accessed August 9, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 Alabama School Connection, "ARMT 2011-2012 Test Result Rankings – 8th Grade Reading," accessed July 7, 2014
  6. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  7. [ U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a. accessed May 15, 2014]
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Tuscaloosa News, "Plan 2020 brings praise, criticism," July 3, 2013
  9. Cullman Times, "Education Revolution: How Plan 2020 Could Reshape Education in Alabama," December 9, 2012
  10. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State,” accessed June 12, 2014
  11. Alabama Education News, "Raising Expectations: Common Core Standards in Alabama," January/February 2011
  12. 12.0 12.1 Alabama Association of School Boards, "Members: School Boards," accessed July 7, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Alabama Secretary of State, "Minimum Qualifications for Public Office," accessed July 7, 2014
  14. Alabama Secretary of State, "Candidate Filing Guide Twelfth Edition," accessed July 7, 2014