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Williams Taking A Wait And See Approach To School Voucher Bill

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Williams Taking A Wait And See Approach To School Voucher Bill

State Representative Ryan Williams said he is taking a “wait and see” approach to Governor Bill Lee’s proposed private school voucher expansion.

The Education Freedom Scholarship Act would provide up to 20,000 students $7,075 yearly in tax dollars to attend a private or home school. Williams said he is waiting to make a full assessment until the full bill is in his hands.

“Until the language of the bill is really presented, and to my knowledge no one has seen any language it’s really hard for me to understand what it is he’s trying to do,” Williams said.

Williams acknowledged the bill would be heavily debated as the legislature returns to Nashville this week.

“They’ll be a lot of discussion,” Williams said. “Most of the spirited debate will probably be in the sub-committee and the committee process. The house floor, my suspicion is it’ll be narrowed to a few topics by the time it gets to us. It’ll be interesting to see.”

Williams said he believes some sort of expansion of school vouchers will pass even if it is not exactly what the governor hoped for.

In November, Lee said his end goal was to eventual offer vouchers to all K-12 students. Williams said he believed the governor’s intentions are to give parents more choice when choosing the schools they attend.

Part of the criticism the bill has received from Williams’ colleagues is that it takes tax dollars that could be put into public schools and focuses that money on private schools.

“I think it’s just a multi-faceted approach,” Williams said. “I see what the governor’s doing as a separate thing all together than what we are doing in schools, and when his budget comes out, I think you’ll see that is the case.”

The bill is an expansion of a voucher program already set up in urban areas of the state. That voucher program narrowly passed in 2019.

“No one gave me a crystal ball,” Williams said. “There are things that I thought would pass that didn’t. I know the governor’s put a lot of emphasis on this. I think it’s important to him. As it relates to whether it will pass or not, usually it doesn’t ever pass based upon the form on which it is originally presented. I think there will be an opportunity to do something and something will pass, but what that something is, it’s hard to tell at this point.”


The post Williams Taking A Wait And See Approach To School Voucher Bill appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.