File #: RS2024-188    Name:
Type: Resolution Status: Passed
File created: 1/9/2024 In control: Metropolitan Council
On agenda: 1/16/2024 Final action: 1/29/2024
Title: A resolution opposing expansion of the Education Savings Account program in Tennessee.
Sponsors: Delishia Porterfield, Clay Capp, Emily Benedict, Antoinette Lee, Terry Vo, Brenda Gadd, Zulfat Suara, Ginny Welsch, Tom Cash, Olivia Hill, Erin Evans, Burkley Allen, David Benton, Russ Bradford, Mike Cortese, Thom Druffel, Tasha Ellis, Quin Evans-Segall, Sandy Ewing, Jennifer Gamble, Jeff Gregg, Deonte Harrell, Rollin Horton, Jordan Huffman, Joy Smith Kimbrough, Jacob Kupin, Sean Parker, Jeff Preptit, John Rutherford, Sandra Sepulveda, Jason Spain, Kyonzte Toombs, Sheri Weiner
A resolution opposing expansion of the Education Savings Account program in Tennessee.

WHEREAS, in 2019, the Tennessee General Assembly approved, by a single vote, the implementation of an Education Savings Account ("ESA"), or "school voucher" program, in Davidson and Shelby counties; and

WHEREAS, the school voucher program was also expanded to Hamilton County in 2023; and

WHEREAS, currently, the school voucher program provides approximately $9,000 for students to attend schools on the list of ESA-approved schools, which can be used toward tuition, textbooks, uniforms, and other approved educational expenses; and

WHEREAS, the proposed expansion of the school voucher program in Tennessee, which allows for $7,075 in public funding for students to attend private or home schools, will also tie up additional state funds, with an estimated annual cost of $141.5 million; and

WHEREAS, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools receives nearly a quarter of its budget from federal and state funding, and much of the remaining funding comes from the Metropolitan Government through property taxes; and

WHEREAS, when combined with recently updated state funding calculations based on student enrollment, an expanded voucher program could mean less funding from the state and more funding required from local sources, which may necessitate an increase in property taxes; and

WHEREAS, Tennessee currently ranks 46th among all states in education funding in the United States; and

WHEREAS, research from the Brookings Institute shows that school voucher programs lead to an increase in new private schools which are funded almost exclusively by vouchers and quickly close. In addition, many existing private schools raise tuition after voucher programs are instituted; and

WHEREAS, the Brookings Institute has also found mixed evidence on whether school voucher programs actually improve student attainment or performance; and

WHEREAS, in addition, it is unclear whether t...

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