Testifying before the state Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee on a bill to create a school voucher program in Tennessee, Education Commission Kevin Huffman said Tuesday that some administrative hurdles would have to be cleared to get the program up and running by the 2014-15 school year.
“There will be a lot of work to do,” said Huffman, who indicated that educating parents and private-school administrators on the various elements and procedures of the voucher program would be a big part of making it work in an effective fashion by next fall. Huffman said that while the voucher-eligibility features are pretty clear in Senate Bill 196, “there is a communication aspect that has to happen quickly.”
“We have had conversations with folks who have started these kinds of programs in other places, and have done it on a similar timeline,” Huffman said. “There is no doubt that it is challenging, but we anticipate that we’re going to be able to get this done should the bill become law.”
Senate Bill 196 was approved April 8 by the Finance Committee, 8-2-1. The voucher-school companion legislation in the lower chamber, House Bill 190, also has yet to make it to a floor vote. The bills have difference that would have to be reconciled in order to become law.