NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s highest court has ruled that Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s school voucher program does not violate the state’s constitution.
The Tennessee Supreme Court’s ruled 3-2 Wednesday on the issue. Its decision overturns several lower court rulings that had previously determined the program violated the Tennessee Constitution’s “home rule.” That rule says the Legislature can’t pass measures singling out individual counties without local support.
Tennessee State Attorney General Herbert Slatery issued the following statement on the court’s ruling:
“The Education Savings Account program (ESA) has always been about helping Tennessee students-giving eligible families a choice in education, an opportunity they currently do not have. It challenged the status quo- a move that is always met with resistance. We applaud the Court’s decision that this pilot program is indeed Constitutional. While there are further court proceedings that need to take place, this is a major step forward.”Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III
Under the law, the voucher program would apply only to Nashville and Shelby County, which includes Memphis, the areas with the lowest-performing schools and regions with Democratic political strongholds that opposed the measure.