New School Choice Measure Proposed: Tennessee ‘Opportunity Scholarships Program’ Would Allow Choice Between Public or Private Schooling

Newly proposed legislation would establish an annual scholarship program enabling students to choose private schooling. The bill, filed on Tuesday by State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna), would apply to students within Tennessee’s rapid growth school districts (TRGSDs) according to Tennessee’s Department of Education (TDOE). Any local education agency (LEA), or school district, that has two percent growth over the course of five years would be eligible.

The bill capped scholarship recipients at 1,000 students. If more than 1,000 students applied for the scholarship, then TDOE would select the recipients via lottery preference. Students who have enrolled previously or have siblings in any given participating school would receive preference in such a lottery.

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