School voucher proposal passes House committee

Mar 21, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that would create a school voucher pilot program for Shelby County has passed in a House committee following rancorous debate.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Harry Brooks, a Republican from Knoxville, would allow public school children to use taxpayer money to go to private schools.

Shelby County lawmakers were the most impassioned during debate, with several telling others from outside districts to stop making decisions about their school children. Rep. Johnnie Turner, a Memphis Democrat, asked "why do we always have to be the dumping ground."

But Rep. John DeBerry, another Memphis Democrat, said the whole purpose of the bill was to give parents choices when they were stuck with failing schools.

Opponents fear vouchers will take money from public schools. Supporters say it gives parents choices.