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Tennessee school voucher bill passes Senate Education Committee

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — A proposal to create a school voucher program in Tennessee is advancing in the Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown passed the Senate Education Committee 5-1 Wednesday evening.

The legislation that would give parents the option to move a child from a failing public school to a private school is similar to a measure Republican Gov. Bill Haslam proposed last year that failed.

Under Kelsey's proposal, eligibility would be opened to low-income students in districts that have a school in the bottom 5 percent if slots are left.

Haslam's proposal was OK in the Senate last year, but the House version wasn't palatable because it sought to expand eligibility to the bottom 10 percent of failing schools.

Kelsey says he's optimistic about the bill's chances of passage this year.

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