Governor Haslam’s Voucher Program Passes First Test with Bipartisan Support

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State lawmakers raised several reservations but ultimately passed Gov. Bill Haslam’s school voucher program in its first test.

Two members of the House Education Subcommittee voted no, including one Republican. The former school superintendent says he doesn’t believe public money should be diverted to private schools. Democrat Joe Pitts of Clarksville voted no after asking if private schools would be forced to still provide a free lunch. Only poor students could qualify for vouchers under the plan.

“I’m just really concerned that we’re targeting that at-risk population, but we’re really not doing anything else to supply that basic human need, which is food,” Pitts said.

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says it would be up to the private school whether to feed voucher students at no charge.

The legislation passed easily with the help of two Democrats voting yes.

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