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Sherrell Expects Long Debate On Idea Of School Vouchers In Nashville

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Sherrell Expects Long Debate On Idea Of School Vouchers In Nashville

State Representative Paul Sherrell said he expects there will be healthy debate concerning public education funding over vouchers when the new legislative session begins next Tuesday.

Sherrell said he understands Governor Bill Lee’s interest in helping people pay private school tuition. Sherrell said many of the people who have come to him to discuss the issue have said that they understand the desire to provide a child with a better education. However, the majority of the citizens he has spoken with believe that we should fund our public schools first and go from there.

“I do believe that if a person wants to send their child to a Christian school or a private school or whatever they want to do, I think that’s their option if that’s what they want to do for their child,” Sherrell said.

Sherrell said it is important to bring the rural voice to this discussion as the legislature begins discussions, specifically how losing funding to vouchers could impact smaller school districts.

“As time goes along, we get in session, and hearing more of what the governor is wanting, I’m sure there’s some good things in it, probably some bad things in it, and maybe we can work it out in a good way for across the state of Tennessee,” Sherrell said.

A voucher system is currently in place for students in larger districts. Lee proposed in December expanding the program across the state, giving parents more school choice.

Sherrell said citizens that he has spoken with have voiced their support for public funding.

“My wife and I, we sent our daughter to a Christian school, but yes, the money that we paid for that Christian school came out of my pocket and her pocket,” Sherrell said. “It didn’t come out of the state of Tennessee’s pocket.”

Sherrell said as the session begins, we will learn more about exactly what Lee is pushing for, but Sherrell believes that fighting to fund public education should be considered a basic responsibility for representatives and the state of Tennessee.

“What the governor is proposing is important to a lot of people, but I still believe in my heart that we need to put public education first,” Sherrell said.


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