Teachers, parents head to Nashville to voice voucher bill concerns

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Teachers, parents and school association officials are packing up on their way to Nashville, fighting a battle against vouchers.

In Nashville, legislators are going to vote on a voucher bill, and if that bill passes, it would mean state money could be used to pay for private school tuition.

Rosemary Winters with the Memphis Shelby County Education Associations said they believe this could be a devastating blow to the public-school system.

"Vouchers take away from what we have worked so hard in public schools for," Winters said.

Winters said if this voucher passes, it could cause cuts to programs that have seen significant student growth and achievement.

"The budget is stable for next year. It's in place, but if the voucher bill approves those programs and services for our students," Winters said.

Not only are the teachers making their voices heard, parents are also vocal about the bill. Some parents see it as an opportunity for their children.

Parents said the voucher could be used like a scholarship, helping students in low performing schools. Winters debates this logic, saying that's not the full and/or long-term picture.

"The voucher bill would probably stand for a year, but after that year, they're going to go back to public schools, because the money's probably going to run out," Winters said.

According to lawmakers, if the bill passes, they plan to start with 5,000 vouchers in 2017, but eventually cap it at 20,000 by the 2020-2021 school year.

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