Cheatham County schools - ONLINE ONLY

In an effort to “protect (the) school system,” the Cheatham County school board unanimously approved two resolutions opposing vouchers and education savings accounts at its Tuesday, March 4 meeting.

The resolutions came in response to Gov. Bill Lee’s recent proposal to expand these programs, said Jennifer Hamblin, the board’s legislative liaison.

“They’re attempting to redirect our public education dollars for the private institutions,” Hamblin said in the meeting.

Vouchers and ESA programs allow parents to use public funds for their child’s education, including tuition at a private school.

One of the board’s resolutions announced its explicit opposition to vouchers and the other denounced education savings accounts, which many consider essentially vouchers.

“Although ESA may be structured somewhat differently than traditional vouchers, it is still a redirection of public educations dollars to private institutions,” according to the resolution. “ESAs are an attempt to rebrand the voucher argument.”

In addition to explaining the resolutions during the meeting, Hamblin also voiced concerns about Lee’s planned charter school expansion. During his State of the State speech Tuesday, Lee proposed that Tennessee double its charter school funding from $6 million to $12 million.

“I will support legislation that makes it easier to open good charter schools and easier to close bad ones,” Lee said during the address. “I believe highly accountable public charter schools are a great model for expanding choice without sacrificing quality.”

Hamblin argued that the new bill would take power away from local districts.

“They’re trying to take the authority away from your local school board on charters and put it in the hands of the state,” Hamblin said. “If that happens, any organization can come to Cheatham County and say ‘we want to open a charter school’ and we can do nothing to stop it.”

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SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS

The Cheatham County School Board has changed the meeting dates for the monthly meetings and work sessions.  

Board meetings will now be held on the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. Work sessions will be held the Thursday prior to the board meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Board meetings and workshops are held in the Board Annex at 104 Elizabeth St. in Ashland City. They are open to the public.

The schedule for the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year is:

• Board meetings: April 4, May 2 and June 6

• Board work sessions: March 21 (due to spring break), April 25 and May 30

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