Tennessee lawmaker preparing for statewide K-12 ESA voucher program

The Tennessee Legislature will hear a proposal to create a statewide educational savings program in the upcoming session, Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, confirmed to The Center Square on Monday.

White first told The Tennessean of the plan last week. White told The Center Square it “will be a tough hill to climb” and wanted to put the topic out in the open to “continue to have the conversation” on heading in the direction of statewide ESAs to give more parental choice in education.

Last year, a pilot program for ESAs pushed by Gov. Bill Lee and sponsored by White began while the legislature added Hamilton County to the ESA pilot program but Knox County was removed in conference committee between the House and Senate.

White said he expects legislation to be filed, introduced and discussed in committee early in the upcoming session starting in January but the legislation will likely need the entirety of the session to reach its finally, passable form. He said that he does not want to create an unfair playing field where private schools are able to just choose the best students.

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