That’s how much Williamson County state Senator Jack Johnson supports vouchers. Except he was clear in a recent legislative forum that he didn’t want vouchers to impact Williamson County.

Tennessee Holler has more on Johnson’s bad math and rank hypocrisy:

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) on the other hand said he supported vouchers “1000%” – although in the next breath he made it clear they would in no way affect Williamson County, which is where he lives, and which is where the town hall was being held.

Yes, it’s hypocritical to say vouchers are ok for other districts, but not right for yours. But it also denies reality. That is, vouchers simply don’t work to help kids and also that they carry significant costs. The funds depleted from the state budget to support vouchers will be funds not available to support an already underfunded public education system:

Nearly 15,000 students who never attended public school suddenly receiving vouchers would mean a state cost of $98 million. That’s $98 million in new money. Of course, those funds would either be new money (which is not currently contemplated) or would take from the state’s BEP allocations in the districts where the students receive the vouchers.

Let’s look at Davidson County as an example. If three percent of the student population there took vouchers, and half of those were students who had never attended a public school, the loss to the district would be a minimum of $8.4 million.

Applying that same math to Williamson County, a voucher program would mean a net loss to Williamson County Schools of around $3.4 million. That is, unless Johnson plans on dedicating new revenue to the BEP to make up for the cost of the voucher plan he backs “1000%.”

There’s no reason to believe he will do that, however. Especially since Tennessee is spending less per student in inflation-adjusted dollars than we were back in 2010 when Bill Haslam became governor. Johnson fully supported Haslam’s bleak education budgets that left our state investment in public schools stagnant. Now, he wants to direct public money to private schools and also wants to pretend that won’t impact the community he represents.

He’s either willfully ignorant or hopes the citizens of Williamson County aren’t paying attention.

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

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