Tennessee Supreme Court rules in favor of Governor Bill Lee’s school voucher program

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The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in favor of Governor Bill Lee on Wednesday after quashing a lawsuit alleging the governor’s school voucher program was unconstitutional, according to the Tennessean.

Lee’s College Savings Account program enables eligible students to attend private school with public funding. The programs only apply to districts in Shelby County and Metro Nashville, the report said.

The bill that authorized the voucher program in 2019 was barely approved by the General Assembly.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee speaks with reporters Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Nashville, Tennessee. Lee said on Tuesday that he plans to include “significant” salary increases for teachers in next year’s budget despite financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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“Every child deserves a high-quality education, and today’s ESA ruling from the Tennessee Supreme Court brings parents in Memphis and Nashville closer to finding the best education for their children,” said Lee, according to the outlet.

The counties argued that the “domicile rule” section of the state constitution was violated by the voucher program because it applied only to the respective counties.

Bill Lee said the sudden death of his first wife shaped his business and outlook on life.

Bill Lee said the sudden death of his first wife shaped his business and outlook on life.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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The decision was 3 to 2 in Lee’s favor and the majority opinion argued that the “domicile rule” section of the state constitution did not apply to school districts.

AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 08: Texas Governor Greg Abbott attends a press conference where he signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 to the Capitol on June 8, 2021 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, TX – JUNE 08: Texas Governor Greg Abbott attends a press conference where he signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 to the Capitol on June 8, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

School vouchers have become a hot topic across the country, including the state of Texas. Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas., accused the incumbent governor of wanting to “defund” public schools because he supported a voucher program.

“Abbott is for funding our public schools,” O’Rourke tweeted after an appearance at a campaign event in San Antonio, where Abbott spoke about his “Parental Bill of Rights.”

“I stand for fully funding our children’s classrooms and fully supporting parents, teachers and students,” O’Rourke continued.

School voucher advocates have in turn argued that the governor is smartly on the side of parental rights in education by prioritizing school choice.

“The reality is that school choice is a rising tide that lifts all boats,” Corey DeAngelis, national director of research at the American Federation for Children, told Fox News Digital. “School choice contest leads to better results in public schools. School choice does not “defund” public schools. On the contrary, public schools defund families. simply return the money to the rightful owners, or at least the intended recipients of the funding (students and their families).”

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