Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - October 18, 2019 


Baltimore mourns Rep. Elijah Cummings, who 'Fought for All.' Also on our rundown: Rick Perry headed for door as Energy Secretary; and EPA holds its only hearing on rolling back methane regulations.

2020Talks - October 18, 2019 


While controversy swirls at the White House, the Chicago Teachers Union goes on strike, and retired Admiral Joe Sestak walks 105 miles across New Hampshire.

Daily Newscasts

School Voucher Bill Heads to TN Governor’s Desk

Proposed legislation would give parents in Tennessee's more urban counties vouchers worth $7,300 a year to send their children to private school. (Adobe Stock)
Proposed legislation would give parents in Tennessee's more urban counties vouchers worth $7,300 a year to send their children to private school. (Adobe Stock)
May 3, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee legislators have passed controversial bills that would give parents living in Shelby and Davidson counties vouchers to send their children to private schools.

The "Tennessee Education Savings Account Act" now heads to the governor's desk. It would give parents in two of the state's highest-population districts up to $7,300 a year for private-school tuition and expenses.

Brad Fiscus is a former public school teacher and board member with the group Pastors for Tennessee Children. He says other states have tried similar school voucher programs, and have ended up funneling millions of dollars in taxpayer money away from public schools.

"If we look at other states, what we find is, a state like Indiana over the last 7 years is projected to spend $685 million on educational savings accounts programs,” says Fiscus. “That money is then being drawn out of what would have gone to the local school districts."

Supporters of the voucher idea say low-income parents should have the option to send their kids to private schools that they couldn't afford without financial assistance. But opponents point out that vouchers don't cover all the costs of a private-school education, creating built-in hardships for some families.

Fiscus says not everyone would be able to shoulder the additional financial burdens of navigating transportation, meals and other expenses typically covered in the public school system.

"Pastors for Tennessee children, our emphasis is on advocating for all children to receive a free, quality public education in the communities that they're in,” says Fiscus, “and not pull funds out, like this will do with the ESA program and the charter program."

Fiscus adds if signed by the governor, the Tennessee Education Savings Account Act is estimated to cost nearly $335 million by 2024, an amount significantly higher than previous estimates.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - TN