Judge rules Tennessee’s school voucher program unconstitutional

Published: May. 5, 2020 at 10:06 AM CDT|Updated: May. 5, 2020 at 10:07 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Tennessee judge has ruled Gov. Bill Lee’s controversial school voucher initiative illegal and unconstitutional.

The judge said the Education Savings Account Act violates Tennessee’s “Home Rule” amendment because it only applies to Shelby and Davidson counties.

The ESA program, also known as “school vouchers” would give low income families $7,300 in state money to use for private school tuition.

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray has been a firm opponent of the program. He tweeted Monday night, calling it excellent news for SCS and Nashville schools “as we continue to champion public education and equitable funding."

Lee signed the law last year and it was scheduled to go into effect next school year.

The governor’s office released a statement following the ruling saying, “We strongly disagree with the court’s ruling and will swiftly appeal on behalf of Tennessee students who deserve more than a one-size-fits-all approach to education.”

The state plans to appeal the decision.

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