Gov. Lee’s School Voucher Plan Faces Questions In The Tennessee Senate | Nashville Public Radio

Gov. Lee’s School Voucher Plan Faces Questions In The Tennessee Senate

Apr 4, 2019

Gov. Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account plan might be in trouble in the state Senate.

Republican Dolores Gresham, the chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, says major changes to the school voucher proposal are needed before there’s agreement.

Gresham admits there’s no consensus in the Senate on Gov. Lee’s $125 million school voucher plan.

She says whether to cover the costs of homeschooling, and if parents should be asked for proof on immigration status to qualify for the program, are some of the issues being debated among senators.

“We are still polling our members, and seeing where they are, what their insights are,” Gresham told reporters Thursday.

Money for homeschooling was dropped in the House because of concerns of potential fraud. And under the amended version of the bill, parents would have to prove they are legally in the state in order to qualify for the $7,300 dollar voucher — something Gresham says might be illegal under federal law.

“I believe federal law requires us to teach everybody," Gresham told reporters Thursday. "We don’t want to cross lines that we shouldn’t cross. And so we’ll be careful.” 

The measure has received pushback from both parties, but it has cleared multiple hurdles in the House.

The Senate Education Committee is expected to debate it next week.