While groups attempting to stop Tennessee’s voucher scheme from being implemented make arguments before a judge, no actual vouchers will be awarded. This according to a story in Chalkbeat.

Chancellor Anne C. Martin is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday on nine motions that range from the state’s efforts to dismiss both lawsuits to requests by several plaintiffs to declare the 2019 education savings account law unconstitutional. One motion asks for a temporary injunction to keep the program from launching before the new school year.

Martin is expected to rule on several key motions in early May. Her two recent orders noted that the state, which has been accepting applications for the program since March 27, has agreed “not to notify any person that he or she has been approved to receive an Education Savings Account” before May 13.

Governor Bill Lee has made vouchers his primary legislative focus, even working to ensure funding for the scheme was included in his emergency budget adopted before the legislature recessed due to COVID-19.

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Will Vouchers be BLOCKED?

A court in Nashville will hear arguments on Wednesday in cases challenging Gov. Bill Lee’s voucher scheme. Specifically, the plaintiffs are seeking to stop implementation of the plan before the 2020-21 academic year.

Here’s more from a press release:

On Wednesday, April 29, Chancellor Anne C. Martin of the Chancery Court for Davidson County will hear oral arguments in two cases challenging the constitutionality of Tennessee’s Education Savings Account (ESA) Pilot Program, the private school voucher law passed in 2019.

The voucher program diverts scarce public education funding to private schools and applies only to Nashville and Memphis students, in violation of several provisions of the Tennessee Constitution as well as state statutes. At the request of Governor Bill Lee, the program will begin issuing vouchers this fall, a year earlier than the law requires.

The plaintiffs in McEwen v. Lee, who are public school parents and community members from Nashville and Memphis, are seeking a temporary injunction to stop the state from implementing the voucher program until the court rules on the constitutionality of the voucher law. Oral arguments on their motion will be heard on Wednesday at 10 a.m. CT.

Also during Wednesday’s hearing, the Court will hear oral argument for summary judgement in a separate lawsuit challenging the voucher law brought by Davidson and Shelby Counties and the Metro Nashville Board of Public Education.

The hearing will be conducted by video conference and live stream. Members of the public can watch online, though a link will likely not be available until shortly before the hearing starts.

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

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