School voucher proponents in the Tennessee legislature are hoping the 4th time is the charm. Lawmakers are planning to debate a proposal for a voucher system that would allow low-income parents of students in failing schools to use taxpayer money to send the student to private schools. Efforts in each of the last three years have failed to pass the House.
The Associated Press reports there may be momentum behind this year’s approach:
Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown told reporters on Monday following a Senate Education Committee hearing on vouchers that he’s optimistic the Legislature starting in January could be the one to finally pass a school voucher proposal.
Kelsey didn’t discuss details of the proposal, but he said it’s similar to one that passed the Senate earlier this year, and that has the support of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.
The main reason for the proposal’s failure has been attempts to expand eligibility instead of a more limited approach, which Haslam supports.
A recent national Gallup survey showed that Americans are opposed to vouchers by a 57-21 margin. The Baptist Joint Committee has long opposed vouchers as an improper use of taxpayer funds to support religious education. The details of the Tennessee proposal are not yet available.