MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In just over three weeks, classes will resume in the Memphis-Shelby County School District as well as other local municipal districts. That means several hectic days which always happen at the start of classes. But now a new ball of confusion is being added with the start of the state’s private school voucher program that has been on hold for more than two years.
Governor Bill Lee insisted this week that the controversial plan will go in effect at the beginning of fall classes. The plan allows eligible public school students in Memphis and Nashville to use at least $7,300, possibly more, in taxpayer money to attend private schools.
The plan is technically called the Education Savings Account program. And courts have given the OK for the plan to start after the state Supreme court said the law Governor Lee pushed through the legislature in 2019 did not violate the state constitution – even though it only applies to two counties.
But legal language aside, getting the program off and running will be anything but smooth. Most private schools have already planned for the number of students they will have this fall. And the voucher plan’s website has been stuck on pause for months.
Still, Lee is determined, even if he’s not prepared. So when schools open August 8th, look for much more chaos and confusion than usual.