A bill paving the way for investor-owned companies to run charter schools in Tennessee passed at the end of a nearly six-hour committee meeting Wednesday night. Weary members of the Senate Education panel voted six to three, sending the proposal on to the full Senate.
Sen. Reginald Tate (D-Memphis) voted no.
“I don’t think that is a proper move for us – whether its at a charter school or not,” Tate said in the nearly-empty hearing room. “I think it opens the door for monopolies.”
Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) was the only Republican to vote against for-profit charter schools.
The House Education Committee is scheduled to take up for-profit charter schools next week. Several out-of-state companies have hired lobbyists to help them change Tennessee law, which restricts the operation of charter schools to non-profit organizations.