Rise & Shine: Lee huddles with local school leaders over vouchers

Good morning!

When Gov. Bill Lee unveiled his education savings account proposal last month, he hadn't discussed the details of his plan with school leaders in the five cities that would be affected. But yesterday, he did. In a closed-door, hour-long meeting at the state Capitol, the governor sat down to talk vouchers with several dozen board members and superintendents from Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Jackson.

Chalkbeat was the only news organization on hand as the meeting ended, and our report also recaps a flurry of other voucher activity yesterday on Capitol Hill. Another revised voucher proposal is expected to emerge today. Follow our ongoing coverage.

Also, TNReady testing is happening! Let us know how it's going in your school by emailing us at tn.tips@chalkbeat.org.

—Marta W. Aldrich, statehouse correspondent


VOUCHER DIALOGUE  Gov. Bill Lee gets an earful during a closed-door meeting at the state Capitol with school leaders from the communities that would be affected by his proposal to let some families use taxpayer money to pay for private education services. Chalkbeat, Times Free Press

The governor wants to move nearly $25 million previously allocated for his voucher program to an effort to combat hepatitis C in Tennessee prisons. The Tennessean, The Associated Press, Nashville Public Radio

Worried about the “threat of litigation,” the state attorney general’s office declines to issue a legal opinion requested by a Memphis lawmaker about the voucher bill’s constitutionality. Daily Memphian

With the Senate and House at odds over the voucher plan, here’s what to know about the differences in their bills. The Tennessean

Opinion: As time draws short, Gov. Lee and lawmakers should compromise on a scaled-back voucher plan that would still provide options for students who actually attend low-performing schools. Times Free Press

BUDGET PREVIEW  Shelby County’s school board is expected today to preview the district’s next budget to county commissioners. Daily Memphian

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH  Parents with the Memphis Lift education advocacy group march outside of the headquarters for Shelby County Schools to call for a national search for the district’s next superintendent instead of hiring the interim leader. Fox13

With superintendent jobs open — or soon to open — in Memphis and Jackson, former Nashville schools Director Shawn Joseph says he’s not interested. The Tennessean

CHARTER COMMISSION  A majority of Gov. Bill Lee’s proposed nine-member state charter school commission would have to reside in a county where a charter school now operates under a change adopted by a Senate committee. Times Free Press, Daily Memphian

BEP FUNDING  State lawmakers are unlikely this year to take up two bills that would increase the annual cost of education funding by $350 million by changing how teacher positions are funded and increasing the ratio of school nurses. The Tennessean

KIDS WITH DISABILITIES  Gov. Bill Lee’s supplemental budget leaves out appropriations for medically needy children with severe disabilities who cannot get state health care because their parents’ income exceeds qualifying limits. The Tennessean

SCHOOL CLOSURES  Two elementary schools in Greene County will close at the end of the school year following a vote by the district’s school board. The Greeneville Sun

FUNDING FIXES  Blount County’s school board will ask the county for a 32-cent property tax rate hike to pay for renovations at two high schools. The Daily Times

TEXTBOOK REVIEW  With an eye toward world religion, Sullivan County parents review social studies textbooks adopted for the district. Kingsport Times-News

CULTURAL COMPETENCE  How Williamson County Schools’ training videos on inclusion became a lightning rod. Nashville Public Radio

SAFETY APP  Parents will be able to submit anonymous tips on safety, suicide concerns, and gun threats through a new app from Franklin’s special school district. The Tennessean

ASD COPYCAT  Two Mississippi school districts with low-performing schools will be placed under state leadership this summer in a new Achievement School District, set to launch June 1. Mississippi Today

FIRST PERSON  A North Carolina middle school teacher shares what his students learned — and didn’t learn — from his efforts to teach empathy to students in his language arts class. Chalkbeat

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