Governor Bill Lee is touting his new education savings account program as a success thus far. The state issued their first wave of approval letters last week to 46 applications, setting them up to attend the school of their choice this fall.
In a video message on Thursday, Lee said that the state has been putting in extra hours ever since an injunction was lifted by the courts in July, allowing them to move forward with the plan that will allow parents to choose where their children attend school.
“We’ve been working overtime to get the ESA program up and running for this school year,” Lee stated. “Today we’ve received more than 600 applications from Tennessee families. Nearly 60 students have already been approved to attend a participating school this fall. These numbers are growing every day for the nearly 40 schools that are offering seats in their classrooms for this school year. And most important, we’re committed to a quality rollout of the program.”
Families are eligible to apply for the ESA if they are in the Memphis-Shelby County School District, Metro Nashville School District, or Achievement School District. Those approved are able to use the funds for tuition at approved private schools but are also allowed to use the money for other “educational expenses” such as “school uniforms, textbooks, tutoring services, computer hardware, educational therapies or services, summer education programs, specialized after-school programs, or other educational purposes,” according to the state.