FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2019
Lindsay Kee, ACLU-TN communications director, (615) 320-7142
NASHVILLE – Today the Tennessee Senate Education Committee voted to advance SB 795, which would implement Governor Lee’s school voucher proposal.
As amended, this bill would create education savings accounts for students zoned to attend school in a district with 3 or more schools among the bottom 10 percent, whose family members’ incomes are less than twice the income threshold for free lunch eligibility. The maximum amount the student is entitled to each year is equal to the amount representing the per pupil state and local funds generated and required through the basic education program (BEP) for their district.
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, issued the following statement in response:
“We are very troubled by the committee’s decision to advance this costly bill, which violates the fundamental principle of religious freedom by funding religious education with taxpayer funds.
This anti-public education legislation creates a costly government spending program that diverts desperately needed resources away from the public school system, which accepts all students. Private voucher schools are not required to adequately serve students with disabilities or low-income students, and this bill would also discriminate against students from undocumented families.
We urge lawmakers to focus on improving education in public schools for all Tennessee children by voting down this legislation.”