Voucher bill passes Senate on 20-13 vote

The Senate has voted 20-13 to pass Gov. Bill Lee’s school voucher bill.

There are still major differences with the House, which passed its version by a bare minimum 50 votes earlier this week.

The Senate vote came after the chamber rushed to swear in new Republican member Bill Powers (R-Clarksville). Powers voted for the bill despite declaring during the campaign that he opposed vouchers.

It takes 17 votes for bills to pass the chamber.

19 Responses to Voucher bill passes Senate on 20-13 vote

  • James White says:

    No HomeSchooling and Only 2 counties. RIP OFF

    • Tricia Hennessy Stickel says:

      not correct. Homeschooling in LEA districts included

      • Lenny says:

        Not totally correct. I want my $7,300 debit card to be used for any home skool program I make for my childs. They make me submit to the liberal tn Ed department approved list of homeschool vendors. I shuld get the monies to learn my childs how to prepare for the Doomsday’s

  • Michael Lottman says:

    So Rep. Zachary sold out in the House vote for nothing. Knox County is not going to be in the bill anyway, or so it would appear. Hopefully, this whole dishonest bill will be challenged in the courts for, first, discriminating against undocumented school-age children in violation of Supreme Court precedent, and second, serving a discriminatory purpose by enabling relatively well-off and non-minority families in Davidson and Shelby counties to avoid having their children in school with low-income, minority children and leaving them in schools that will get even less in the way of resources or official concern. The bill establishes a tier of suboptimal but segregated private schools paid for at least in part by the state out of funds that are desperately needed in the schools and by the children left behind. For these and other reasons it is plainly unconstitutional.

    • Tricia Hennessy Stickel says:

      Knox County was in the bill. Knox removed by Senate to accommodate Rep Zachary. While not a perfect bill but wonder if any have heard the floor testimony? Some of these schools have a 10% competency. If there was a chance of saving 15,000 to be able to excel in education, would not that be a good thing? I believe we can look forward to new private schools popping up with small class sizes, a curriculum focused on the basics with zero tolerance for undisciplined disruption and excellent educators. While this does not benefit our county, I am willing to try to help 15,000 others.

    • MarLE says:

      Look at those income level thresholds…..who in the world, unless their living under a railroad trestle themselves, calls people with that low ball income “well off”? And who are you to lump any or all of the parents who want their child to go to something other than a government school into a category of those doing so for the purpose of discrimination?

      The beast thrashes about and yells like the demons of hell when threatened.

      Do you all know that in the 2 most aggressive Voucher states, Florida and AZ fewer than 3% of students use Vouchers. Pretty scary thought, right? Gov schools will be needing bake sales to keep them afloat with only 98% of the original revenue. (not all per child revenue leaves with the child).

      • Lenny says:

        There are private schools that are better than any public school in this state. Montgomery Bell, Baylor, and GPS are a few examples. Tuition alone is about $30,000 at these elite private schools, though. Can you name any private schools that are have the same quality of education of Ensworth where $7,300 will cover tuition, fees, books, supplies/technology, uniforms, etc.?

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Ah Lenny you have stumbled into the gist of the voucher/ESA argument, competition that makes government schools aim for the excellence of an MBA and private schools that aim for the excellence of an Ensworth is precisely the goal. More students going to private schools will bring the cost of those schools down as their fixed costs are spread out between more students. More generous vouchers will make private schools more affordable to more families. Let government money follow the students. The more money that can flow to private schools the more it will encourage the best and the brightest to enter education with innovative ways of teaching even the most difficult students.

          As with any outlays of taxpayer’s money I want safeguards against abuse and fraud. At a certain point nothing is achieved by warehousing kids in government schools who don’t want to be there so they are wasting their time as well as educator’s time preventing education of others and thus wasting taxpayer money. Let them leave after achieving bare literacy and numeracy with the proviso that they are accompanied out the door with the admonishment that anytime they want to come back and get an education we would love to have them. Before the military was so particular as to who they recruit I used to say there is nothing that gives an uneducated unskilled kid a view of his future and time to think like hanging over the side of navy ship with a bucket of paint at his side and a hammer in one hand and a paint brush in the other. I am sure the same affect can be duplicated bagging groceries and stocking shelves at the local Kroger.

          • Lenny says:

            I dunt wont they to have to lower the prices. I wont to learn my kids the truth weather the liberal tn Ed Dept tells me I can or cant. My debit card SHALL be used for my home skool curricula! MERRY CHRISTMAS

        • Susan says:

          Jubilee Schools in Memphis. Parochial schools have a long history of providing high quality private school education for very modest tuitions. They won’t have the grandiose library or the NFL fashioned locker rooms, but the reading writing and arithmetic are outstanding.

          • Lenny says:

            I want my debit card to learn my childs how to prepar for Doomsday’s. They’ll need Spam and toilet paper. $7,300 ain’t much but it a start

    • James White says:

      The Supreme Court does not make law. They have no power to stop the state from telling the Federal Government to bud out. Of course the Federal Government would cut off the money flow.

      • MarLE says:

        No but the Supreme court can tie you up for years so good idea to stay on the side of their rulings. But this ESA doesn’t deny any child a free public education.

        • Lenny says:

          It SHALL not deny me the write to learn my Childs teh truth. My debit card will be used as legal tender to purchase education products such as toildet paper, Spam, and My Pillow pillows for my home skool program. They will be prepared for the end times which is better education even than Oral Roberts University. Thank you.

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  • Donna Locke says:

    Let’s revisit Rick and Roy Herron’s recent op-ed in The Tennessean about this voucher scheme. They look at the results elsewhere.


    And regardless of what our uninformed and cowed legislators have said or tried to legislate, children born here to illegal aliens are U.S. citizens eligible for all programs in this country. They will get your vouchers. Children brought here by foreigners playing the asylum ruse will be eligible for these vouchers. Their parents have a degree of legality — “papers” — notices to appear for asylum hearings — and if denied asylum, the parents can appeal for years and remain in this country. We will be educating their children. And finally, children brought here flat illegally by illegal aliens will get the vouchers — the courts will tell you so.

    I’m mentioning this aspect again because unprecedented mass immigration, much of it illegal, has overwhelmed and destroyed our public school system. We could turn off this spigot and allow our schools to recover, but no, the mess is being used to advance other agendas.

    The Catholic Church, I’m sure, is giddy at the thought of this mostly Catholic influx and of getting its hands on more of our tax dollars, and is even now planning new private schools to take advantage of the handouts the rest of us will not be getting, an outcome with which we are at this point familiar.

    I don’t know how so many of us managed to get by without free stuff. It must have been a miracle. Once upon a time, in the Pleistocene Epoch, I started first grade at age five and quickly learned to read and write. Thank you, Miss Hardison. Kindergarten did not exist. Forget pre-K. I grew up in a working-class family with no books except the Bible in the house and went to public school in a small Tennessee town. I sat in classrooms with at least 40 of my fellow baby boomers in each one, and with one teacher in each class, no aides. Most of the teachers were older than 45, and some were in their sixties or seventies. Some were gay; no one cared. We didn’t know none of this was supposed to work. Perhaps we were in an alternate reality of some kind. I drove down a country highway the other day, and the sign for a little community I lived in as a child had disappeared, and the community is no longer on any map. So, maybe we were — in an alternate reality.

    I can tell you, and my husband can tell you, what works, but if you have agendas other than basic education, you aren’t interested.

    • MarLE says:

      Donna….you learned to read in first grade with one teacher and 40 kids. I know that cannot be done. I’ve heard teachers tell me that a million times. I went to one of those loathsome Catholic schools. Rode a bus over an hour each way, by-passing a closer one where there were 101 kids in the first grade class~ no kindergarten then either.

      I agree totally with you on immigration. Did the Supreme Court say we had to create ESL classes? Did we have those more expensive initiatives during any of the other immigration waves? And where were the angry Teacher Union voices as we spent increased dollars on accommodating those who can’t speak the language? In that Catholic school I attended there was a girl who entered first grade in Feb having come from Italy. She spoke little English. By the following Sept of that same year, her aunt and uncle and the TV had her fluent and able to function along with the rest of us. No ESL…just a dedicated family wanting her to quickly assimilate.

      How do you suppose so many in the last year or two have become asylum seekers? Think there are any “advisors/coaches” assisting in this charade? Isn’t conspiracy to commit fraud a crime that should be prosecuted? Haven’t heard of one case of that.

      • Donna Locke says:

        Yeah, MarLE, this country is full of suckers being played by foreigners and foreign governments who, even if they are illiterate in their own language, know more about our system than we know. Immigration is now a welfare program.

        I want you to know something if you don’t. Mexico, for one, is a wealthy country. Rich in resources and tourism. And is collecting billions of dollars in foreign aid and remittances from OUR resources every year. Our country’s immigration and foreign aid policies enable the corruption there; so, no change is forced to occur. What we are doing to our own country is institutionalizing entitlement and unjust inequity. We will get more and more “entitled” because that is the garden we are growing. But at some point, the inequity forced upon the producing middle class will reach boiling point. The house will fall on them all.

        • MarLE says:

          If they are not rich it is their own fault. This is a country blessed by God in natural resources, agricultural climate, beautiful coastlines that stretch forever on the Pacific and Gulf. I have been saying this forever….it is the people who have failed to prosper. Mexico has more of everything it takes to be successful than either Canada or the US.

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