Haslam Will Push to Help Some Pay Private-School Tuition

Gov. Bill Haslam appeared at an education forum with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Photo courtesy TN Photo Services

Gov. Bill Haslam appeared at an education forum with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Photo courtesy TN Photo Services

Governor Bill Haslam says he’ll offer a school vouchers proposal to lawmakers, a year after asking them to hold off so he could study the matter. The move gives Haslam some ownership of the proposal, which would divert public school dollars to help kids who can’t afford private school tuition.

Haslam won’t put out specifics until later this month, but says he wants to help low-income families, who are zoned for underperforming schools. He says his proposal will reach into the complex and legally fraught public-school funding formula, known as the Basic Education Plan, or BEP.

“For us, it’ll be something where BEP dollars would be involved. The exact amount of that we’re not ready to come with yet.”

Haslam acknowledges tinkering with BEP dollars could open to the door to legal challenges. And there’s no guarantee lawmakers will pass his vouchers plan without tweaking it. Some have hinted they would prefer a more expansive approach, and could offer suggestions of their own.


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