ClassWallet Controversy Heats Up

Rep. Bo Mitchell of Nashville is asking for a formal investigation into how a contract to manage the state’s voucher program was awarded to ClassWallet, according to a story in Chalkbeat.

A Nashville lawmaker wants Tennessee’s chief internal investigator to look into how the Department of Education is paying for the early rollout of Gov. Bill Lee’s education savings account program.

The Republican governor ordered the early rollout last summer but set aside only $771,300 for voucher work in the 2019-20 budget approved last spring. The education department has since signed a two-year contract for $2.5 million with ClassWallet, a Florida-based vendor hired to manage online accounts and applications for the voucher program. 

The education department irked many lawmakers when it signed the ClassWallet contract last fall without going through competitive bids or the legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee. 

Mitchell’s push for an investigation follows concerns over how the contract was awarded to ClassWallet:

The lack of adherence to bidding procedures should come as no surprise as Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn faced similar challenges when she held a senior level position in the Texas Education Agency.

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

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