Committee gets an earful from Republican and Democrat lawmakers over vouchers

Jan 29, 2020

State Rep. Kent Calfe (R) Kingston, TN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- State lawmakers Monday approved the rules Tennessee will use to implement Gov. Bill Lee’s school voucher program, but not before they heard bipartisan criticism of the plan.


The legislation was approved last year by a single vote. It makes school vouchers available to low-income families in Memphis and Nashville.


Republican Rep. Kent Calfee blasted the plan, saying he expects the law will be repealed this session.


“There was every kind of dirty trick in the book, bribes, threats, everything else to get it passed, and I’ll tell you what, a lot of people that voted for it are really catchin’ it from their people back home because the people out in the districts don’t want this.”

Reports have circulated suggesting the voucher vote is being investigated by federal officials, but nearly one year later no charges have been filed.

Supporters say the vouchers will allow poor families to escape low performing schools.