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.
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
Kirk Haston, Vice Chair 615-741-0750
Debra Moody 615-741-3774 firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlie Baum 615-741-6849 email@example.com
David Byrd 615-741-2190
Scott Cepicky 615-741-3005
Mark Cochran 615-741-1725
Jim Coley 615-741-8201
John DeBerry, Jr. 615-741-2239 firstname.lastname@example.org
Vincent Dixie 615-741-1997 email@example.com
Jason Hodges 615-741-2043
Chris Hurt 615-741-2134
Tom Leatherwood 615-741-7084 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Dunn 615-741-1721 email@example.com
Harold Love, Jr. 615-741-3831
Antonio Parkinson 615-741-4575
John Ragan 615-741-4400
Iris Rudder 615-741-8695
Jerry Sexton 615-741-2534
Kevin Vaughn 615-741-1866
Terri Lynn Weaver 615-741-2192
Ryan Williams 615-741-1875
John Mark Windle 716-741-1260
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