Oak Ridge, Tennessee Plans to Fight School Vouchers

Members of the Oak Ridge Board of Education say they are drafting a formal resolution opposing school vouchers, and they plan to forward it to state legislators.

This is the second known local government entity in Tennessee to take a stand against school choice.

According to the most recent draft of the Oak Ridge resolution, board members complain that, under school choice, private schools have standards to enroll or remove any students they wish.

Board members also complain “voucher programs divert critical dollars and commitment from public schools to pay private school tuition for a few students, including many who already attend private schools.”

Board Chairman Keys Fillauer (pictured above: second from right) told The Tennessee Star Friday he also opposes school vouchers for other reasons.

“I can even see that opening up some areas where it (vouchers) can almost be used as a recruiting tool for athletes, for example,” Fillauer said.

“I don’t feel like vouchers would allow students, if they go to private schools, some type of special education training, either for physical or academic reasons. Finally, I am not sure those who are in favor (of vouchers) have looked at the issue of what transportation needs might be brought forth.”

Fillauer said he and his colleagues on the board will probably adopt the resolution at their next board meeting, scheduled for Feb. 25.

In the meantime, Fillauer and his colleagues are scheduled to travel to Nashville Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 for the Tennessee School Board Association’s Day on the Hill. There, they will meet with their respective state legislators to complain about vouchers.

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee reportedly favors school vouchers. Legislators will no doubt address the issue this session.

As The Tennessee Star reported this week, Houston County commissioners formally oppose school vouchers.

They do so at the behest of Houston County Director of Schools Kris McAskill, who warned vouchers would take money away from the public school system.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Oak Ridge Board of Education” by Oak Ridge Board of Education. 






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