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Education Savings Account (ESA) Program

Tennessee’s Education Savings Account (ESA) program is planned to launch for the 2020-21 school year in Davidson and Shelby counties. With the ESA program, eligible students assigned to schools in Davidson County, Shelby County, or the Achievement School District can use state and local Basic Education Program (BEP) funds toward expenses, such as tuition or fees, at participating private schools.

Public Chapter 506, which was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly and signed by Governor Bill Lee in spring 2019, established the ESA program, providing additional education choices for students. Gov. Bill Lee, in his first State of the State address before a joint session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly on March 4, 2019, said, “Low income students deserve the same opportunity as every other kid in this state, and we will need a bold plan that will help level the playing field. We need to challenge the status quo, increase competition, and not slow down until every student in Tennessee has access to a great education. We’re not going to get big results from our struggling schools by nibbling around the edges. That is why we need education savings accounts in Tennessee this year.”

Currently, the draft rules of the program are available for public comment. The bill’s legislative history can be found here.
 

Private schools (Category I, II, or III) interested in participating in the ESA program may fill out this "Intent to Participate" form:  https://stateoftennessee.formstack.com/forms/private_school_intent_to_participate

 

Key Dates

 

November 15, 2019
9:00 a.m.
State Board of Education Meeting
Carson-Newman University
2130 Branner Avenue
Jefferson City, TN 37760

 

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