Gov. Lee’s ESA voucher plan faces key votes Wednesday

Local News

Governor Bill Lee’s controversial Educational Savings Account (ESA) or voucher proposal affecting thousands of students faces key votes Wednesday. 

Both the Tennessee House and Senate have the ESA bill scheduled to be heard in one of their committees.  

With the votes in those committees looming Wednesday, a group that identified itself as “Tennessee Strong” protested against the ESA bill outside the Cordell Hull legislative office building.  

“I am sick about money from public education going to private entities,” said Rosa Ponce’ who identified herself as a school parent from Montgomery County. “Ultimately, I think its underfunding of education that affects everything.” 

The ESA proposal aims at kids in low performing schools’ districts. 

They would get up to $7,300 yearly to spend as they choose, but many expect that money would likely be used for private schools. 

“I like to talk about the student and how it’s going to help them,” said Rep. Bill Dunn of Knoxville who has supported vouchers since he came to the legislature nearly 25 years ago. “What I like to emphasize is that school choice puts the emphasis on the student. Those against school choice put the emphasis on the system.” 

An estimated 5000 students statewide would be eligible for the education savings account program during the first year of the program. 

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