School voucher plan to come up in 2014 TN Legislature - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

School voucher plan to come up in 2014 TN Legislature

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A controversial school voucher plan will come up again this year in the Tennessee State Legislature. This bill, if passed, would allow underprivileged children to take taxpayer money and use it for tuition for private school.

The voucher proposal has been talked about for years.

Last year was going to be the session it finally passed, but instead, disagreements among State Republicans killed it. State Sen. Brian Kelsey 9R-Germantown) has been pushing this bill for years.

But in 2013 Gov. Bill Haslam pushed his own version of the bill and there was disagreement. Gov. Haslam wanted students in only the bottom five percent of schools to be eligible for vouchers, and wanted to cap participants to 5,000 children in the first year.

But Sen. Kelsey said that didn't go far enough. He wants any child who qualified for "free and reduced lunch" to be able to participate in the program.

"The bill that was offered last year only included the 69 worst schools in Shelby County," Sen. Kelsey said. "In Shelby County that doesn't even put a dent in the number of schools we have here. That still leave two-thirds of our schools and children that would not be helped."

The legislative session begins in Nashville on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

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