OPINION: “HEADS UP! THIS IS IT.” #Vouchers #Wednesday

Nashville school board member Amy Frogge talks about a key vote on Governor Bill Lee’s voucher plan — a vote scheduled for Wednesday, March 27th.

First seen on the TN Ed Report. Follow @TNEdReport for more.

HEADS UP, everyone! THIS IS IT. Vouchers will be up for a key vote this coming Wednesday, March 27th, at 8 am in the full House Education Committee, and this is our best chance to stop them in Tennessee. IT IS SUPER IMPORTANT THAT WE ACT NOW.

Here’s information on the bill: HB 939/SB 795 would create a new form of vouchers in Tennessee called Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). ESAs have been described as “vouchers on steroids.”

This proposed legislation is targeted not toward “children trapped in failing schools,” but toward wealthier families, with virtually no regulation or public accountability. Vouchers would be available in any district containing at least three schools in the bottom 10% of schools in the state, but vouchers would be made available to ALL students in that district, including those enrolled in high-performing schools and private schools.

Families making up to around $100,000 per year would be eligible for the voucher, and private schools would not be required to accept the voucher as payment in full. This means that more affluent families with children already enrolled in private schools could use the voucher to help offset their current payments for private school.


It will also allow students to cross county lines with their vouchers, which could wreak havoc on many rural school districts.

Local school districts will have to pay for the bulk of these vouchers. (For example, in Davidson County, the state would pay only about $3,600 toward the cost of the voucher, while Davidson County would be required to pay about $8,100 per voucher.)

On top of this, the state would withhold a 6% management fee for the voucher program. The governor has claimed that a limited amount of funding will be available to school districts to help offset the cost of the vouchers for three years, but this money could be revoked at any time- and worse, vouchers will create ongoing recurring costs that school districts will be unable to cover for an indefinite period of time.

Once the door to vouchers has been opened, it cannot be shut. Under this legislation, vouchers would become an entitlement for upper middle class private school parents and homeschool parents.

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP:

1. We need as many people as possible to attend the hearing. It will be in House Hearing Room 1 of the Cordell Hull Building.

2. Contact members of the committee NOW, and encourage your friends to do so. (Obviously, constituents of these members will make the greatest impact.)

Mark White, Chair 615-741-4415
[email protected]

Kirk Haston, Vice Chair 615-741-0750
[email protected]

Debra Moody 615-741-3774 [email protected]

Charlie Baum 615-741-6849 [email protected]

David Byrd 615-741-2190
[email protected]

Scott Cepicky 615-741-3005
[email protected]

Mark Cochran 615-741-1725
[email protected]

Jim Coley 615-741-8201
[email protected]

John DeBerry, Jr. 615-741-2239 [email protected]

Vincent Dixie 615-741-1997 [email protected]

Jason Hodges 615-741-2043
[email protected]

Chris Hurt 615-741-2134
[email protected]

Tom Leatherwood 615-741-7084 [email protected]

Bill Dunn 615-741-1721 [email protected]

Harold Love, Jr. 615-741-3831
[email protected]

Antonio Parkinson 615-741-4575
[email protected]

John Ragan 615-741-4400
[email protected]

Iris Rudder 615-741-8695
[email protected]

Jerry Sexton 615-741-2534
[email protected]

Kevin Vaughn 615-741-1866
[email protected]apitol.tn.gov

Terri Lynn Weaver 615-741-2192
[email protected]

Ryan Williams 615-741-1875
[email protected]

John Mark Windle 716-741-1260
[email protected]

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