High court to review school voucher lawsuit

February 5, 2021 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s highest court on Thursday agreed to take up an appeal of a lawsuit challenging the legality of a school voucher program allowing parents to use public tax dollars for private school tuition.

The program — known as education savings accounts — would let eligible families use up to $7,300 in public tax dollars on private schooling tuition and other pre-approved expenses.

However, the 2019 law has never been implemented after being struck down multiple times despite appeals from Gov. Bill Lee and voucher advocates.

A chancery court ruled last year that the voucher law violated the Tennessee constitution’s “home rule,” which says the Legislature can’t pass measures singling out individual counties without local support. An appeals court upheld the ruling.

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Under the law, the program would only apply to Nashville and Shelby County, which includes Memphis, areas where most of the local Democratic lawmakers opposed the law.

A hearing date hasn’t been scheduled.