Senator Blamed For Derailing Governor’s Voucher Proposal Now Hopes To Pass It

Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) said Tuesday he hopes the governor's voucher proposal passes next year. Asked if he might offer his own version, Kelsey said "No. I'm very open to negotiations on Governor Haslam's bill, and I'm very glad that he sponsored the bill, and I'm open to negotiations on what exactly it will look like." (Image via Sen. Kelsey's Facebook page)

Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) said Tuesday he hopes the governor’s voucher proposal passes next year. Asked if he might offer his own version, Kelsey said “No. I’m very open to negotiations on Governor Haslam’s bill, and I’m very glad that he sponsored the bill, and I’m open to negotiations on what exactly it will look like.” (Image via Sen. Kelsey’s Facebook page)

A state senator who clashed with the governor over school vouchers this year now says he’ll work with the administration’s proposal.  Vouchers would divert funding for public schools, to instead help poor students afford private tuition.

At issue is how many students should get vouchers, and just how poor they’d have to be to qualify.  Senator Brian Kelsey pushed for an expansive approach, and found himself blamed for a dispute that derailed voucher legislation this spring.

Now, Kelsey hopes to help pass the governor’s bill when lawmakers reconvene in January.

But that doesn’t make vouchers a slam dunk.  House Speaker Beth Harwell says there’s already been a lot of education reform, and some people are ready for a break:

“I think we would like to give school systems time to adjust to all the changes that we’ve put in place and see how things shake out there.”

Still, pressure to pass a voucher bill from outside groups is strong, with one called School Choice Now launching a campaign in Memphis this week.


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