Governor Bill Lee said last week that more than 2,000 families in Shelby and Davidson counties have already signed up for school vouchers. According to the Tennessee Department of Education, up to 5,000 are available this upcoming school year.
In 2019, the Tennessee General Assembly passed and Governor Bill Lee signed Public Chapter 506, which created the Tennessee Education Savings Account (ESA) program. The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in May that the school voucher program is constitutional.
“We’re very hopeful. The law passed two years ago, and these families have waited a long time for this,” Lee said while speaking at Knowledge Quest’s Teen Tech Center in Memphis last Friday.
The ESA program allows eligible students who are zoned to attend a Shelby County district school, a Metro Nashville public school, or a school that was in the Achievement School District (ASD) to use state and local money toward education expenses, including tuition and/or fees at approved private schools, according to the Tennessee Department of Education.
ESAs are available to families who live in Tennessee with a student entering kindergarten through 12th grade who: is zoned to attend a Shelby County District School, a Metro Nashville public school, or a school in the Achievement School District; is a member of a household with an annual income for the previous year that does not exceed twice the federal income eligibility guidelines for a free school lunch; and is a student who attended a Tennessee public school last year for the full school year, or is eligible for the first time to enroll in a Tennessee school.
To learn more about the ESA program, please visit https://esa.tnedu.gov/
– – –
Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Bill Lee” by Bill Lee.