Houston County commissioners voted in favor of a resolution Monday night opposing school vouchers.
They did so resoundingly, said Commissioner Ann Fielder.
Twelve commissioners voted yes on the resolution, but one commissioner abstained from voting, Fielder told The Tennessee Star Tuesday.
Fielder said she was one of the 12 to vote yes.
The commissioner who abstained — Vickie Reedy — is the wife of Tennessee State Rep. Jay D. Reedy, R-Erin.
Fielder said she and other commissioners voted as they did at the behest of Houston County Director of Schools Kris McAskill.
“Our superintendent of schools was there. She got up and said that this (school vouchers) would take state money and give it to private schools,” Fielder said.
“She said this even though we don’t have any private schools currently in our county. But she said if the private schools begin to get state money then we could have some pop up. She also said she didn’t want to lose any of our students (to this).”
McAskill presented no empirical studies or other research to back up her assertions, Fielder told The Star.
Commissioners plan to submit a letter to state legislators notifying them that they oppose school vouchers, Fielder said.
Otherwise, the resolution has no force of law behind it.
“It’s just to let the legislators know how we feel,” Fielder said, adding McAskill and the commissioners discussed the matter for about 15 minutes Monday.
“No one said anything bad about the resolution,” Fielder said.
“But no one said we should not send the letter saying we are against it.”
Fielder said none of her constituents have otherwise reached out to her to discuss school vouchers.
When contacted, Vickie Reedy, a teacher in the Houston County School District, had little to say, including why she voted as she did.
Reedy’s husband did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.
Fielder, meanwhile, said the school district currently has about 1,200 students.
According to the most recent U.S. Census numbers, Houston County has a population of 8,213 people, which is a slight reduction from the 8,426 number it had in 2010.
About 22 percent of its population is under 18.
Meanwhile, about 77 percent of the county’s population has a high school diploma. About 11 percent have a bachelor’s degree.
The county’s poverty level is around 16 percent.
Houston County also has a median household income of about $42,000 per year, according to the Census.