Davidson County Chancery Court on Wednesday lifted a injunction on Governor Bill Lee’s College Savings Account Program, which will allow some students in Nashville and Memphis to use public education funds to attend private schools. Lee says eligible families will be able to use ESAs for the upcoming school year. The Tennessee Department of Education will post more information about ESA on its website “in the coming days.”
The controversial legislation was narrowly passed in 2019 but has yet to be implemented after being held up in court for several years. Shelby and Davidson counties have sued the state over the ESA program, arguing it is unconstitutional because it only targets Memphis and Nashville. Although the Davidson County Chancery Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals initially ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, the case was appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled in Lee’s favor. . The Supreme Court appeal process was delayed due to the Death of Judge Cornelia Clark in September. A specially appointed judge eventually replaced Clark and sided with the state.
“Today the court removed the final hurdle to provide families in Memphis and Nashville with additional options for a high-quality education,” Lee said via a press release. “Starting today, we will work to help eligible parents enroll this school year, as we ensure Tennessee families have the opportunity to choose the school they think is best. for their child.”
Critics of the ESA program say it will drain funds from public schools.