Back in 2015 when the Tennessee General Assembly passed the first round of voucher legislation limited to a select group of students, opponents of the plan warned that the program as designed would be susceptible to fraud. Now, a new report from the Associated Press confirms those fears.
Some Tennessee parents were accused of misspending thousands of dollars in school voucher funds while using state-issued debit cards over the past school year, a review by The Associated Press has found, and state officials say they do not know what many of those purchases were for.
In 2015, I wrote:
A similar program in Florida, started in 1999, has been expanding rapidly. And, it’s been subject to fraud. When asked about what safeguards Tennessee’s plan will have, the sponsors said that the bill calls on the departments of education and health to qualify vendors. When asked what standards may be used to qualify vendors, the sponsors said they didn’t know.
When asked if the money will be distributed as a debit card or a bank account or a voucher, the sponsors didn’t know.
It’s almost as if the bill’s sponsors should have cleared these matters up BEFORE barreling ahead with legislation that led to problems in other states. Instead, here we are.
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