Does state law require public schools to be "open to all"?
Does state law mandate "equality of educational opportunity"?
Do the courts recognize education as a fundamental right?
Yes—Opinion of the Justices No. 338.624 So. 2d 107, 157 (1993)
Art. 14 § 256.The legislature shall establish, organize, and maintain a liberal system of public schools throughout the state for the benefit of the children thereof between the ages of seven and twenty-one years…. Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race.
In Alabama, attendance zones could be vulnerable to an equal protection challenge and strict scrutiny review, because the AL Supreme Court has ruled education to be a fundamental right. Alabama’s constitution still specifies separate schools for black and white students, though this provision cannot be legally enforced since it violates the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
State Law Establishing Attendance Zones
State Law Criminalizing Use Of Incorrect Address
Charter School Admissions
Charter schools are forbidden from discriminating against students based on their residential address within the school district. The exception is conversion charter schools, which must give enrollment priority to students who reside in the former attendance area of the school. All charter schools must be open to any student who resides in the state. If applications exceed capacity, schools must give enrollment priority to students who reside in the district jurisdiction where the charter school is located. Ala. Code § 16-6f-5