Controversial voucher program to be voted on Monday

Elementary school Education Generic
Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A controversial voucher program that would let kids go to private schools instead of public school has become a hot-button issue among parents, educators and lawmakers.

The voucher program, also known as the “choice bill,” would allow parents to use public money to send some students at failing public schools to private or religious schools to give them a better shot at success.

Last month, sponsor Bill Dunn of Knoxville argued that Gov. Bill Haslam has put a lot of money into K-12 education, so we should make the best use of it.

“It’s not like we are starving our schools. There is money to improve them,” Dunn said.

Opponents say the last thing the government needs to do is take more money away from struggling schools. They argue the program will divert much needed money away from public schools.

Sibyl Reagan, mother of three, is against vouchers.

“We have plenty of small counties that will really, really suffer if this money is taken out of their public schools, so they’ll have to have tax increases to make up for it, tax increases that the average taxpayer can’t necessarily afford,” Reagan said.

Vouchers would be available to students who attend public schools in the bottom five percent in overall achievement statewide.

The State House of Representatives will vote on the bill Monday at 5 p.m.

Stay with News 2 for updates on the decision.

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