Nashville mayor asks high court to reconsider voucher ruling

June 2, 2022 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper says his office is asking the Tennessee Supreme Court to reconsider its decision that a contentious school voucher program does not violate a key section of the state’s constitution.

Last month, Tennessee’s highest court ruled that Gov. Bill Lee’s 2019 voucher initiative doesn’t violate the state constitution’s “home rule,” which says the Legislature can’t pass measures singling out individual counties without local support.

The program would only apply to Nashville and Shelby County, which includes Memphis, the areas with the lowest performing schools and regions with Democratic political strongholds who opposed the measure. The two counties were among the entities that sued over the program.

“We hope the court will consider (Metro Nashville Public Schools’) status as the public school system for both Nashville and Davidson County, and not allow the state to direct taxpayer money away from our schools without our consent,” Cooper said in a statement.

The case is currently headed back to a lower court to determine other lingering legal challenges — among them, claims that the program violates educational and equal protection provisions.