Democrats charge TN voucher bill would 'blow $175 million hole' in new public school funding

Craig Fitzhugh

NASHVILLE -- Legislative Democrats charged today that if the General Assembly passes a school voucher program, the costs to local school districts "would nearly wipe out all the new funding" proposed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam for K-12 education next year.

"Our state is 47th in per pupil spending, and this state budget does nothing to help us move up the board against other states," House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley said in a news release. "We only hear about vouchers: a system that hasn't provided any stories of success. We have to fully fund our schools: not cut nearly a half billion dollars from their budgets."

Democrats say state Comptroller Justin Wilson recently told the House Finance Committee the state currently underfunds education by as much as a half billion dollars.