The Johnson City Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution Monday voicing opposition to pending state legislation that would create a voucher program allowing students to use public education funding to pay for private school tuition.
“Most likely what would happen is that it would take tax funding away from public schools, and in a budget year like this, we need to look very closely at that and we feel the tax dollars should be spent on public education,” Chairwoman Kathy Hall said.
Many school districts across the state are opposed to a voucher program, and it’s an issue that has generated controversy since private school vouchers were proposed.
Hall said there are a variety of reasons why the school board opposes a voucher program, including its potential to change student populations.
“Since private schools can pick and choose what students they want to take and if they bring that funding with them, sometimes it takes away from students who need more,” she said.
According to the resolution, the school board believes “vouchers eliminate public accountability by channeling tax dollars into private schools that do not face state-approved academic standards, do not make budgets public, do not adhere to open meetings and record laws, do not publicly report on student achievement and do not face the public accountability requirements contained in major federal laws, including special education.”
The school board also believes a voucher program would not be effective at improving student achievement and may leave students behind.
The resolution will be sent to local leaders, state legislators and legislators with the state Education Committee.
In other business, the board approved a second resolution supporting the value of board-appointed superintendents rather than holding superintendent elections.