NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The fate of Tennessee’s school voucher program is now in the hands of the state Supreme Court after the lower courts ruled it was not constitutional.
Tennessee’s highest court is expected to have a final hearing Thursday at 9:00 a.m.
The Education Savings Account program would allow parents in Davidson and Shelby counties to use state tax dollars towards private education. This is one of Governor Bill Lee’s signature education initiatives.
Last year, a Nashville judge declared the program was unconstitutional because it only applies to Memphis and Nashville. The Tennessee Court of Appeals then upheld that ruling.
Now the state’s Supreme Court will decide the program’s fate.
Leaders with the Tennessee Chapter for the American Federation for Children are hoping the program is given the green light, saying parents deserve to have options.
“No two children learn exactly the same way, so we shouldn’t expect a one size fits all school system to work for a million children across the state of Tennessee. Even in just the cities where the ESA is focused, you’re talking about 200,000+ students. That’s a lot of diversity – a lot of different needs come up so that’s one reason,” said AFC TN Director Shaka Mitchell. “The second reason is something we’ve known for years: The public school system, by and large, hasn’t been able to make the grade when it comes to serving all students well. For some students, it’s a great option, but not for every student.”
AFC-Tennessee is hosting a rally at Legislative Plaza Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Several groups are expecting to speak there, including families that want to use the program.
You can watch the live stream of the hearing HERE.