Senate approves Haslam’s school voucher bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Senate has approved Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to create a school voucher program in Tennessee.

The measure approved 20-10 on Thursday is different than the House version that has stalled in the House Finance Committee.

Haslam originally sought to limit the vouchers – or so-called “opportunity scholarships” – to students from low-income families attending the bottom five percent of failing schools.

Under the new version, if there are not enough students for the available slots, then eligibility would be opened to low-income students in districts that have a school in the bottom five percent.

The companion bill would expand eligibility to the bottom 10 percent of failing schools if slots are left. That version has had trouble mainly because of opposition to further expansion of the measure.