County School Officials Mobilized To Keep Hamilton County Out Of Lee Voucher Bill; Emails Give Details

Thursday, May 23, 2019
Supt. Bryan Johnson helped mobilize effort to derail vouchers for Hamilton County
Supt. Bryan Johnson helped mobilize effort to derail vouchers for Hamilton County

Some Hamilton County School officials and board members were instrumental in keeping Hamilton County out of the recent Education Savings Account (vouchers) legislation sought by new Governor Bill Lee, central office emails show.

Supt. Bryan Johnson and board member Jenny Hill especially took a leading role, saying the vouchers would have cost the county schools millions of dollars.

Hamilton County School officials stayed in close touch with Millsaps Gowan, consultants with a retainer agreement with the Coalition of Large Area School Systems (CLASS), of which the Hamilton County Schools is a member. Hamilton County Schools will have a payment to Millsaps Gowan this year of $75,000, but did not pay the last three years, it was stated. Hamilton County Schools pay that amount every four years and other large cities cover the other years.

Sara Bunch and Dale Lynch of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS), were also in on the fight, as was Jeanette Omarkhail, president of the Hamilton County Education Association and Garrett Knisley, of the Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA).

Drew Sutton, government relations coordinator for the Tennessee Education Association, was also part of the team.

Hamilton County was a part of the voucher bill passed by the House, but Senators Bo Watson and Todd Gardenhire in the end chose to block it in the Senate. In the final version, the bill only included Shelby and Davidson and exempted Hamilton and Knox.

Here are the emails:

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia; GOLDBERG BRENT
Subject: Fwd: CLASS calendar report for week of March 18, 2019 - report on charter authorizing commission and vouchers
Date: Friday, March 15, 2019 12:28:30 AM
Attachments: CLASS calendar for week of March 18.docx

Wanted to check to see if you all planned to be on this call.
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: Robert Gowan <robert@millsapsgowan.com>
Date: March 14, 2019 at 11:51:06 PM EDT
To: Sharpe Robert <sharpe_r@HCDE.ORG>, Cameo Bobo
<Cameo.Bobo@mnps.org>, Mark North <mark.north@mnps.org>, Tony
Thompson <thompson@lobbyTN.com>, Amy Frogge
<amymfrogge@yahoo.com>, Stephanie Love <LOVES1@scsk12.org>,
CLIFFORD DAVIS <clifford.davis@knoxschools.org>, Corey Harkey
<Corey.Harkey@nashville.gov>, Jordan Christie <jordan_chris@HCDE.ORG>,
Chris Henson <chris.henson@mnps.org>, Jennifer Owen
<jennifer.owen@knoxschools.org>, David Sevier <david.sevier@mnps.org>,
"Johnson Dr. Bryan" <johnson_bryan@hcde.org>, JENNIFER ERVIN
<ERVINJ@scsk12.org>, Maria Stewart <stewartma1@scsk12.org>, Alishia
Green <greenal@scsk12.org>, Andre Dean <andre@adeanassociates.com>,
GOLDBERG BRENT <goldberg_b@hcde.org>, Gini Pupo-Walker
<gini@conexionamericas.org>, "Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia"
<edwards_nakia@hcde.org>, Bob Thomas <bob.thomas@knoxschools.org>, Hill
Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>
Cc: Elizabeth Millsaps <elizabeth@millsapsgowan.com>
Subject: CLASS calendar report for week of March 18, 2019 - report on
charter authorizing commission and vouchers

MEMORANDUM
TO: CLASS working group
FR: Robert Gowan & Elizabeth Millsaps
DA: March 14, 2019
RE: CLASS calendar report for week of March 18, 2019

The CLASS calendar for the week of March 18, 2019 is attached. We will discuss the highlighted bills during our conference call tomorrow morning at 9 am CDT.
Action this week

Tennessee Public Charter School Commission

The Lee administration introduced their charter school authorizer legislation this week by amending HB940 in the House Education Curriculum, Testing and Innovation Subcommittee. The bill as amended would create a 9 member charter school authorizing commission to be known as the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission. The commission would generally replace the State Board of Education as a statewide charter authorizer. However, with the current amendment local school districts could be bypassed by charter school applicants since charter applications could be filed directly with the charter commission. The subcommittee approved the bill as amended with a voice vote, even after several Republican members of the committee expressed concerns that local districts would not have an opportunity to review applications before the commission acted on charter applications. Education Chairman Mark White assured the subcommittee that he would be open to changes to the bill to address concerns raised by the subcommittee. The bill is calendared in the House Education Committee next week.

Education Savings Accounts/Vouchers

Late today the Lee administration shared the language of an amendment to SB795/HB939 which would become the Tennessee Education Savings Account Act. The amendment would allow low income students attending a school in a district with at least 3 schools in the bottom 10% of school performance to receive an amount "equal to the per pupil state and local funds generated and required through the BEP" through the ESA program. It has been reported that this amount would be $7,300 per student per year. However, there does not appear to be a cap in the amendment and the amount would be based on the per pupil amount generated by the BEP for the student’s district. Students would be allowed to use the funds for private school tuition, tutoring, purchase of curriculum (presumably for home schooling), transportation to private school, tuition and fees for online learning programs, fees for post-secondary classes and exams required for college admission, services from a public school, computer hardware, school uniforms,
tuition, fees and textbooks at a postsecondary institution, contributions to a 529 college savings trust account, educational therapy services and fees for the management of the ESA. The amendment creates a fund that would “disburse an annual grant to each LEA to be used for school improvements in an amount equal to the BEP funds for participating [ESA] students” for the first three fiscal years of the program (FY2021-22, FY2022-23 and FY2023-24). The program would be
capped at 5,000 students in the first year and up to 15,000 students through the 5th year.

The voucher bill is calendared in the House Education Curriculum, Testing and Innovation Subcommittee on Tuesday. It has not been calendared in the Senate Education Committee.

Robert Gowan
--------------------------------
Millsaps Gowan Government Relations
P.O. Box 159249
Nashville, TN 37215
Cell and Text: 615.418.9219
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertgowan/

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Robert Gowan
Subject: Re: Bottom 10%
Date: Friday, March 22, 2019 11:51:22 AM

Additionally, Focus schools have subgroups in the bottom 5 percent, which is well below the
10% threshold.
Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 22, 2019, at 10:36 AM, Robert Gowan <robert@millsapsgowan.com> wrote:

Rep. Hodges told the education committee this week that he thought that the “3 schools on the priority list” was arbitrary and said that some districts might have a larger percentage of priority schools than the 5 districts targeted by the ESA bill.

This is a list of districts with schools in the bottom 10% (according to the 2017 cusp list) sorted by % of schools in the bottom 10%. Fayette is not doing much better than Shelby and Knox is doing better than Fayette, Anderson, Hardeman and Maury Counties:

Achievement School District 23/32 71.8%
Madison 8/21 38%
Shelby 65/200 32.5%
Fayette 2/7 28.5%
Davidson 41/159 25%
Hamilton 13/78 16.6%
Anderson 2/16 12.5%
Hardeman 1/9 11.1%
Maury 2/21 9.5%
Knox 7/85 8.2%
Campbell 1/12 8.3%
Cumberland 1/12 8.3%
Bedford 1/14 7.1%
Sumner 1/47 2%
Robert Gowan
--------------------------------
Millsaps Gowan Government Relations
P.O. Box 159249
Nashville, TN 37215
Cell and Text: 615.418.9219
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertgowan/

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: johnsonbryan42@gmail.com
Subject: Fwd: CLASS Update 3/15/19 - lots on voucher bill
Date: Friday, March 22, 2019 10:36:23 AM
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:

From: Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>
Date: March 15, 2019 at 11:03:03 AM EDT
To: CLASS Update <classupdate@hamiltonschools.onmicrosoft.com>
Subject: CLASS Update 3/15/19 - lots on voucher bill

The CLASS call was heavy today. We discussed the Governor's voucher bill at length. To quote our lobbyists: "There are so many problems with the bill that we're not sure how serious they are about actually passing it."

As written this bill is not about access for low income students or addressing failing schools. A summary:

Education Savings Accounts/Vouchers

Late today the Lee administration shared the language of an amendment to SB795/HB939 which would become the Tennessee Education Savings Account Act. The amendment would allow low income students attending a school in a district with at least 3 schools in the bottom 10% of school performance to receive an amount "equal to the per pupil state and local funds generated and
required through the BEP" through the ESA program. It has been reported that this amount would be $7,300 per student per year. However, there does not appear to be a cap in the amendment and the amount would be based on the per pupil amount generated by the BEP for the student’s district. Students would be allowed to use the funds for private school tuition, tutoring, purchase of
curriculum (presumably for home schooling), transportation to private school, tuition and fees for online learning programs, fees for post-secondary classes and exams required for college admission, services from a public school, computer hardware, school uniforms, tuition, fees and textbooks at a post-secondary institution, contributions to a 529 college savings trust account, educational therapy services and fees for the management of the ESA. The amendment creates a fund that would “disburse an annual grant to each LEA to be used for school improvements in an amount equal to the BEP funds for participating [ESA] students” for the first three fiscal years of the program (FY2021-22, FY2022-23 and FY2023-24). The program would be capped at 5,000 students in the first year and up to 15,000 students through the 5th year.

The voucher bill is calendared in the House Education Curriculum, Testing and Innovation Subcommittee on Tuesday. It has not been calendared in the Senate Education Committee.

If you read the paper this morning you were likely concerned with the information in income qualifications -- at the calculated rate of 370% above federal poverty level, that means a family of 4 making $100,000 would qualify.

OTher issues:
When the administration has answered questions about the bill prior to filing, they discussed reimbursing the district in the amount of the $7,300. Interpretation of the amendment, we would only be reimbursed the state portion. Hamilton is $3,748 -- that would be our reimbursement amount. General Assembly could decide not to appropriate the money next year - even though administration says they'd do it for 3 years.

Every district with 3 or more failing schools would be eligible -- even though in those districts may also have some very high performing schools. It is a home school entitlement bill.

Anticipate private schools using it to help pay for sports scholarships The testing requirement is always in the early versions of voucher bills, but typically gets amended out.

Financial requirements -- annual income -- would be 1/2 of the people in our district

IF you live in a county and qualify for a voucher and then move to another county, you could take your voucher with you

A school could offer a scholarship for the remainder of the tuition amount -- a coupon for families who can afford partial tuition Dept of ed could withhold a 6% management fee

Took a decade to get to a 3% fee with a cap for charter schools

Accountability -- expect that home schooled student would go to LEA for testing. This almost always gets this amended out If a student has been in school in one county, they could move to a
district that qualifies for vouchers and receive $7300 but never go to the new county's school.

It was billed as a low income program. You can go up to 370% of federal poverty level. For a family of 4 you're talking about people with $100k of income. That is not low income for anyone in the state. It's not low income or low performing school either

Nothing now requires public reporting of scores

Don't know why it's not including focus schools where there is bottom 5% performance in subgroups. That would include 1/3-1/2 of schools. Child could get a full scholarship to a private school and just take the $.

We expect that this bill will go through the subcommittee quickly, but anticipate more pushback in the full education committee.

Please consider emailing our representatives to share your thoughts on the bill.

Thank you,
Jenny
Jenny Hill
School Board District 6

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Dale Lynch
Subject: Re: ESA"s-vouchers
Date: Monday, March 25, 2019 1:53:02 PM
Attachments: image001.jpg

Representatives Leatherwood, Cepicky, and Rudder
What superintendents are these?

From: Dale Lynch <dalelynch@tosstn.com>
Date: Monday, March 25, 2019 at 8:31 AM

To: "Johnson Dr. Bryan" <johnson_bryan@hcde.org>, Bob Thomas <bob.thomas@knoxschools.org>, "rayj@scsk12.org"
<rayj@scsk12.org>, Eric Jones <etjones@jmcss.org>, Shawn Joseph <shawnjoseph94@yahoo.com>
Cc: Sara Bunch <sara@tosstn.com>, "catielane.bailey@wallerlaw.com" <catielane.bailey@wallerlaw.com>,
"ccagle@lewisthomason.com" <ccagle@lewisthomason.com>

Subject: ESA's-vouchers
Superintendent friends,

I just wanted to remind you of the previous email(s) and contacts TOSS has been making regarding
the opposition to the ESA-Voucher legislation. This bill is on the House Education calendar for this
Wednesday. If you, your Board, and or staff members are planning on attending please let me know.

We have several superintendents that are planning on attending Tuesday and Wednesday for Committee meetings. Thank you for your leadership and please let me know what you are hearing from your legislators and back home. I hope you have a great week.

Dale Lynch
TOSS Executive Director
423-273-0178
dalelynch@tosstn.com
ignature_1365429394

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia; GOLDBERG BRENT
Subject: Fwd: Voucher Income Qualifier - clarification please
Date: Monday, March 25, 2019 4:54:01 PM

Any way we can get this to her ASAP. She is trying to make calls.

From: Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>
Sent: Monday, March 25, 2019 2:50 PM
To: Johnson Dr. Bryan; Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
Cc: GOLDBERG BRENT

Subject: Voucher Income Qualifier - clarification please

Bryan, Nakia, and Brent:

I want to know this voucher bill inside and out. As I look online re: poverty levels, I see a lot of
different jargon.

Could you please tell me the incomes for a family of 4-6 people that qualify under this
language:

"Is a member of a household with an annual income for the previous year that does not exceed
two hundred percent (200%) of the federal income eligibility guidelines for free or reduced-price
lunch."

Also, can you please give me the cost breakdown for HCDE to provide vouchers under the
following language:

"The maximum annual amount to which a participating student is entitled under the program
must be equal to the amount representing the per pupil state and local funds generated and
required through the basic education program (BEP) for the LEA in which the participating
student resides."

State $ + Hamilton County $ = total voucher

Thank you!

Jenny
Jenny Hill
School Board District 6

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Senior Leadership Team 18-19
Subject: Fwd: Voucher
Date: Monday, March 25, 2019 8:11:56 AM

Team- I am sharing this for your information and awareness. Wednesday’s vote is key and has
potential significant implications for our system.
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:

From: OMARKHAIL JEANETTE <OMARKHAIL_J@HCDE.ORG>
Date: March 24, 2019 at 5:33:48 PM EDT
To: WINGATE JOE <wingate_j@hcde.org>, ROBINSON TIFFANIE
<robinson_tiffanie@hcde.org>, McClendon Tucker
<mcclendon_tucker@hcde.org>, MOSLEY-JONES KARITSA
<jones_karitsa@hcde.org>, LENNON KATHY <lennon_k@hcde.org>, Hill
Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>, "HIGHLANDER DR. STEVE"
<HIGHLANDER_S@HCDE.ORG>, "Johnson Dr. Bryan"
<johnson_bryan@hcde.org>

Subject: Voucher

Hi All:

The press conference had logistical issues, but I am still going up on Monday night for Tuesday. Below is something I thought was of great interest. 

The except below is taken from Metropolitan Nashville School Board Member, Amy Frogge. She does a great job of explaining the Education Savings Account (aka...Vouchers) bill that is coming before the full House Education Committee this week. They are trying to push this through in a hurry so stakeholders cannot ask questions, offer differing opinions, etc. We need your help! See below.

Vouchers will be up for a key vote this coming Wednesday, March 27th, at 8 am in the full House Education Committee, and this is our best chance to stop them in Tennessee. IT IS SUPER IMPORTANT THAT WE ACT NOW.

Here's information on the bill: HB 939/SB 795 would create a new form of vouchers in Tennessee called Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). ESAs have been described as “vouchers on steroids.” This proposed legislation is targeted not toward “children trapped in failing schools,” but toward wealthier families, with virtually no regulation or public accountability. Vouchers would be available in any district containing at least three schools in the bottom 10% of schools in the state, but vouchers would be made available to ALL students in that district, including those enrolled in high-performing schools and private schools. Families making up to around $100,000 per year would be eligible for the voucher, and private schools would not be required to accept the voucher as payment in full. This means that more affluent families with children already enrolled in private
schools could use the voucher to help offset their current payments for private school. It will also allow students to cross county lines with their vouchers, which could wreak havoc on many rural school districts.

Local school districts will have to pay for the bulk of these vouchers. (For example, in Davidson County, the state would pay only about $3,600 toward the cost of the voucher, while Davidson County would be required to pay about $8,100 per voucher.) On top of this, the state would withhold a 6% management fee for the voucher program. The governor has claimed that a limited amount of funding will be available to school districts to help offset the cost of the vouchers
for three years, but this money could be revoked at any time- and worse, vouchers will create ongoing recurring costs that school districts will be unable to cover for an indefinite period of time.

Once the door to vouchers has been opened, it cannot be shut. Under this legislation, vouchers would become an entitlement for upper middle class private school parents and homeschool parents.

HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP:
1. We need as many people as possible to attend the hearing. It will be in House Hearing Room 1 of the Cordell Hull Building. 
2. Contact members of the committee NOW, and encourage your friends to do so. (Obviously, constituents of these members will make the greatest impact.)
Mark White, Chair
615-741-4415
rep.mark.white@capitol.tn.gov
Kirk Haston, Vice Chair
615-741-0750
rep.kirk.haston@capitol.tn.gov
Debra Moody
615-741-3774
rep.debra.moody@capitol.tn.gov
Charlie Baum
615-741-6849
rep.charlie.baum@capitol.tn.gov
David Byrd
615-741-2190
rep.david.byrd@capitol.tn.gov
Scott Cepicky
615-741-3005
rep.scott.cepicky@capitol.tn.gov
Mark Cochran
615-741-1725
rep.mark.cochran@capitol.tn.gov
Jim Coley
615-741-8201
rep.jim.coley@capitol.tn.gov
John DeBerry, Jr.
615-741-2239
rep.john.deberry@capitol.tn.gov
Vincent Dixie
615-741-1997
rep.vincent.dixie@capitol.tn.gov
Jason Hodges
615-741-2043
rep.jason.hodges@capitol.tn.gov
Chris Hurt
615-741-2134
rep.chris.hurt@capitol.tn.gov
Tom Leatherwood
615-741-7084
rep.tom.leatherwood@capitol.tn.gov
Bill Dunn
615-741-1721
rep.bill.dunn@capitol.tn.gov
Harold Love, Jr.
615-741-3831
rep.harold.love@capitol.tn.gov
Antonio Parkinson
615-741-4575
rep.antonio.parkinson@capitol.tn.gov
John Ragan
615-741-4400
rep.john.ragan@capitol.tn.gov
Iris Rudder
615-741-8695
rep.iris.rudder@capitol.tn.gov
Jerry Sexton
615-741-2534
rep.jerry.sexton@capitol.tn.gov
Kevin Vaughan
615-741-1866
rep.kevin.vaughan@capitol.tn.gov
Terri Lynn Weaver
615-741-2192
rep.terri.lynn.weaver@capitol.tn.gov
Ryan Williams
615-741-1875
rep.ryan.williams@capitol.tn.gov
John Mark Windle
716-741-1260
rep.john.windle@capitol.tn.gov
Jeanette Omarkhail
HCEA President

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: GOLDBERG BRENT
Subject: Re: Voucher Income Qualifier - clarification please
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 12:12:59 AM
Attachments: image001.png

Thank you Brent!!

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 25, 2019, at 7:22 PM, GOLDBERG BRENT <goldberg_b@hcde.org> wrote:

Jenny,
I have attached the federal income eligibility guidelines document for school year 2019-
2020.

On page 3, you will see that the annual income for reduced price meals for a household of 4 is $47,638. This amount is 185% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

The way the caption below reads, we are not talking about 200% of the federal poverty income amount, but rather 200% of the reduced price income amount of $47,638. 200% of $47,638 is $95,276.

For a household of 6, it would be 200% of $63,992 or $127,984.

I have wondered since this language was released if it was supposed to read “200% of the federal poverty guidelines used to calculate income eligibility guidelines for free or reduced price lunch.” But I assume that the 200% of the higher amount was not an error.

200% of the federal poverty guideline for a household of 4 would be 200% of $25,750 or $51,500.

If the answer you already received on this is different, please let me know.

Thanks,
Brent
Brent Goldberg, CPA
Chief Business Officer
<image001.png>
3074 Hickory Valley Road | Chattanooga, TN 37421

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: OMARKHAIL JEANETTE
Subject: Re: Voucher
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 10:54:55 PM
Attachments: image002.png

Just a note, Brad Fiscus was my high school teacher and student government sponsor. ;)

From: OMARKHAIL JEANETTE <OMARKHAIL_J@HCDE.ORG>
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 11:28 AM
To: Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>
Cc: LENNON KATHY <lennon_k@hcde.org>, WINGATE JOE <wingate_j@hcde.org>,
"HIGHLANDER DR. STEVE" <HIGHLANDER_S@HCDE.ORG>, McClendon Tucker
<mcclendon_tucker@hcde.org>, ROBINSON TIFFANIE <robinson_tiffanie@hcde.org>,
MOSLEY-JONES KARITSA <jones_karitsa@hcde.org>, "Johnson Dr. Bryan"
<johnson_bryan@hcde.org>
Subject: Re: Voucher

We are hearing the same here but are moving forward as if it is still at 8. We will stay in close
contact.
FYI:

The statement below was sent to media statewide this morning.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
EDUCATORS, PARENTS, FAITH LEADERS AGREE ESA VOUCHER PROPOSAL WILL HURT
TENNESSEE STUDENTS, PUBLIC SCHOOLS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Education Association, Tennessee Parent Teacher Association and Pastors for Tennessee Children stand united in opposition to any form
of education savings account voucher programs. As legislators consider the administration’s voucher proposal this week, it is important that they know teachers, parents and faith leaders are adamantly opposed to privatizing our public schools. 

“Our state constitution is clear that our elected leaders have an obligation to provide all Tennessee children with access to a quality public education,” said Beth Brown, TEA president and Grundy County High School teacher. “Moving forward with any form of voucher program abandons our commitment to our most vulnerable students. Details of the current voucher proposal reveal the administration’s intentions to provide entitlements to families living comfortably and already able to afford private school tuition. If passed, this ESA program would starve public schools of millions in funding and dramatically worsen the inequities in public education.”

TEA is just one of numerous organizations with serious concerns about Gov. Lee’s voucher plan. With details of the plan indicating that more than $100 million in taxpayer money will be allocated to pay for a program proven in other states to be fraught with abuse and fraud, parents and faith leaders are standing with educators to oppose ESAs.

“Tennessee PTA advocates for all children and for the improvement of public education,” said Cheryl Floyd, Tennessee PTA president. “Tennessee PTA believes that no one educational program is best for all children and supports educational choices which improve outcomes within public schools. Voucher programs have proven ineffective in improving student outcomes, lack accountability to taxpayers and students, divert funds away from public schools, and place the individual rights of students at risk. The governor’s proposed education savings accounts are just another form of vouchers.”

“Vouchers, especially for the wealthy, are a corruption of God’s common good, and the use of vouchers to underwrite religious schools is a violation of religious liberty,” said Rev. Terry Ladd, pastor at First Baptist East Eighth Street Chattanooga and Pastors for Tennessee Children founding member. “Pastors for Tennessee Children supports the provision of high-quality public education for all children, as a crucial civil rights issue. Vouchers will damage public education in our state.”

Brad Fiscus, a Williamson County School Board member, lay minister with the United Methodist Church and founding member of Pastors for Tennessee Children, added, “Voucher programs historically have proven to serve students from wealthy families at levels higher than students from low-income families. As a result, vouchers promote segregation and centralization of resources to those who already have the most access.”

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Hill Jenny
Subject: Re: ESA Bill -- Hamilton County Fiscal Responsibility
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 12:12:46 AM

I very much appreciate your work on this!! It means a lot.

Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 25, 2019, at 8:03 PM, Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org> wrote:
FYI forgot to cc you

Jenny Hill
School Board District 6

From: Hill Jenny
Sent: Monday, March 25, 2019 7:02 PM
To: Hamilton County Delegation

Subject: ESA Bill -- Hamilton County Fiscal Responsibility

For your consideration regarding Hamilton County expenses and reimbursement:
The per pupil spending in Hamilton County per BEP is $7,219 (not $7300). Also, because of the way the BEP works, the State does not provide that entire amount to the county. Instead, our breakdown is as follows:

Tennessee: $3,753
Hamilton County: $3,466
Total: $7,219

So, in the scenario presented in the proposed bill, the State would reimburse Hamilton County $3,353 per student in the ESA program for up to 3 years. Hamilton County taxpayers would bear the cost of the remaining 49% of the voucher and be "docked" 49% of the reimbursement.

Considering that this bill targets the "big 4" rather than systems that actually have schools and subgroups of students in the bottom 5% of the state, I'll use 1/4 of 5k students to do the potential math.

1250 students in Hamilton County might take advantage of the ESA

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: LENNON KATHY; Hill Jenny
Subject: Fwd: [TOSS Superintendents] NEW ESA/VOUCHER AMENDMENT
Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 9:46:07 AM
Attachments: image001.jpg

Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: Sara Bunch
Date: March 27, 2019 at 9:43:37 AM EDT
To: TOSS List
Subject: [TOSS Superintendents] NEW ESA/VOUCHER AMENDMENT

Good Morning Directors,

We received the latest amendment for the ESA/Voucher bill (HB939) late last night (yes, there’s another one). I have attached it for your review. We are in the House Education Committee now where they are set to hear the bill this morning. You can watch the live feed here: https://bit.ly/2CG4xBI.

Some key changes in the newest amendment:

The income cap has lowered a bit, and is now “twice the federal income eligibility guidelines for free lunch.” For a family of four, this would be about $67,000 per year.

A participating student is ineligible to participate in a sport sanctioned by an association that regulates interscholastic athletics for the first year in which the student attends a participating school if:

The participating student attended a Tennessee public school and participated in that sport;

The student participated in that sport in the year immediately preceding the year in which the participating student enrolled in the participating school; and

The participating student has not relocated outside the LEA in which the Tennessee public school that the participating student formerly attended is located.

The program will cap at 15,000 students in the fifth year and every year after.

Please continue your advocacy in opposition of this bill! If you have a legislator on the House Education Committee, you need to be texting them RIGHT NOW! They need to know that you’re opposed and why.

Thank you all for your work. Keep it up!

Sara Bunch
Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents
401 Church Street, Suite 2710
Nashville, TN 37219
www.tosstn.com

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: McClendon Tucker
Subject: Re:
Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 11:34:02 PM

It might be better to edit the current one. You might want to touch base with Karitsa. I believe
she drafted the earlier one and could “co-author/sponsor.” My initial thought is that you’d
want to provide a draft of some sort for the board to take action on at the next budget meeting.
Not 100% it could be pulled off tomorrow. I can check with Joe and Sherrie tomorrow on
amending a special called agenda, but you’d want to run it by other board members.
Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 27, 2019, at 11:29 PM, McClendon Tucker <mcclendon_tucker@hcde.org> wrote:

I can draft one.

Please disregard any typos as this was sent from a mobile device.

Thank you,
Tucker McClendon
Hamilton County School Board - District 8

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 11:28:52 PM
To: McClendon Tucker
Subject: Re:

You have one drafted?

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 27, 2019, at 11:07 PM, McClendon Tucker
<mcclendon_tucker@hcde.org> wrote:
Bryan,

Rookie Question.

What would it take to get a resolution on the agenda tomorrow to go
against ESA’s. I know the board passed a resolution for vouchers a
year or so, but I think one with stronger language and more of a focus
on ESA’s could be a good thing.

Please disregard any typos as this was sent from a mobile device.

Thank you,

Tucker McClendon
Hamilton County School Board - District 8

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: LENNON KATHY
Subject: Re: How they voted
Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 10:19:31 PM

The comments are interesting for sure. What a day.

Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 27, 2019, at 7:29 PM, LENNON KATHY <lennon_k@hcde.org> wrote:

In case you are interested. I was surprised that Leatherwood and Cepicky voted yes. They were both on my no list!

http://onthehill.tnjournal.net/lees-voucher-bill-how-they-voted/

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: HCDE BOARD MEMBERS
Subject: Fwd: Legislative Alert - Education Savings Accounts 3/28/19
Date: Thursday, March 28, 2019 7:32:19 PM

From: Garrett Knisley <gknisley@tsba.net>
Date: March 28, 2019 at 4:27:09 PM EDT
To: <Johnson_bryan@hcde.org>
Subject: Legislative Alert - Education Savings Accounts 3/28/19
Reply-To: Garrett Knisley <gknisley@tsba.net>

The bill will be considered by the Government Operations Committee and the Finance

Committees before it reaches the House Floor for final vote. We only have a few weeks to
advocate our opposition to all 99 representatives before they vote. Time is of the essence.
Please contact you legislators and voice your opinion on the bill.

AMENDMENTS
Amendment No. 6637 was the final amendment voted on by the Education Committee.

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: OMARKHAIL JEANETTE
Subject: Re: Voucher
Date: Thursday, March 28, 2019 8:38:29 PM
Attachments: image001.png

Oh no! Hope you get well!!! Transportation is tough!

Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 28, 2019, at 8:29 PM, OMARKHAIL JEANETTE <OMARKHAIL_J@hcde.org>
wrote:
That’s pretty cool about Brad. The next step for the voucher fight will be with the finance committee.
Government Ops is the same people who aleady voted yes. – Crazy!! Lots of back door dealing going on up there this week.
Just wanted to tell you I watched the meeting tonight cause I am home sick and felt your frustration. Glad they finally got to the vote.

Jeanette

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan <johnson_bryan@hcde.org>
Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 10:55 PM
To: OMARKHAIL JEANETTE <OMARKHAIL_J@HCDE.ORG>
Subject: Re: Voucher

Just a note, Brad Fiscus was my high school teacher and student government sponsor.

From: OMARKHAIL JEANETTE <OMARKHAIL_J@HCDE.ORG>
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 11:28 AM
To: Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>
Cc: LENNON KATHY <lennon_k@hcde.org>, WINGATE JOE
<wingate_j@hcde.org>, "HIGHLANDER DR. STEVE"
<HIGHLANDER_S@HCDE.ORG>, McClendon Tucker
<mcclendon_tucker@hcde.org>, ROBINSON TIFFANIE
<robinson_tiffanie@hcde.org>, MOSLEY-JONES KARITSA
<jones_karitsa@hcde.org>, "Johnson Dr. Bryan" <johnson_bryan@hcde.org>
Subject: Re: Voucher

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: HCDE BOARD MEMBERS
Subject: Fwd: Legislative Alert - Education Savings Accounts 3/28/19
Date: Thursday, March 28, 2019 7:32:19 PM
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: Garrett Knisley <gknisley@tsba.net>
Date: March 28, 2019 at 4:27:09 PM EDT
To: <Johnson_bryan@hcde.org>
Subject: Legislative Alert - Education Savings Accounts 3/28/19
Reply-To: Garrett Knisley <gknisley@tsba.net>
Click here to view the amendment.

In order to participate in the program, a student must be enrolled in a private school as defined by T.C.A. § 49-6-3001. The amendment also removes the purchase of curriculum as an approved expense and is largely aimed at removing the homeschool aspect of the proposal. With the amendment, the bill now closely resembles traditional voucher legislation in that participating students must be enrolled in a private school; however, it does not require that the funds be spent on the private school tuition, only that the student be enrolled.

It changed the income threshold for eligible student from 200% the federal income eligibility guidelines for reduced-price lunch to 200% the federal income eligibility guidelines for free lunch. The amendment was aimed to address concern that the program was not, in fact, targeting low-income families as advertised, but rather applying to middle class families as well. The reduced-price lunch threshold is 185% of the poverty line and free lunch is 130% of the poverty line. Thus, the program will still be available to those with household income at 260% the poverty line. For
example, a family of five with a household income of $76,492 will still qualify, which will still include middle class families. Click here to see the applicable federal income guidelines.
Amendment No. 6657 added some clarifying language to the private school enrollment
requirement. Click here to view the amendment. We anticipate additional amendments prior to the final vote and will provide updates as they become available.

TALKING POINTS

Some of the issues with the legislation are as follows, which can serve as talking points
when speaking with your legislators:

Accountability. The accountability of participating ESA providers was a point of emphasis for many legislators. The Governor's proposal only requires the ESA student to participate in annually administered TCAP tests for math and English language arts. There is no requirement for standardized or end-of-course testing in science, social studies, the Governor's civics program, or the ACT, which is required in 11th grade. Public dollars will pay for education that is inconsistent with what the General Assembly has mandated of public schools. Recent emphasis on
accountability has made Tennessee one of the fastest improving states in education.

This ESA proposal abandons those efforts. Apples-to-oranges data for public school and ESA participants makes it very difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

Zoning. An eligible student must be zoned to attend an LEA with 3 or more schools among the bottom 10%. However, there is no requisite time period for the student to have been zoned in that LEA. It appears a student could move to a qualifying LEA and immediately be eligible for the ESA program. Currently, the qualifying counties would include Davidson, Shelby, Hamilton, Madison and Knox as well as the Achievement School District. Several smaller counties have similar percentages of CUSP list schools, but will not qualify unless more schools fall to the bottom 10%.
For example, 28.5% (2 schools) of Fayette county schools are on the CUSP list, but it wouldn't qualify because it's less than 3. Click here to view the 2017 Cusp List and see what schools/districts might be impacted.

Postsecondary Funding. The bill defines a "legacy student" as a student who had graduated high school and has funds remaining in their ESA account. A legacy student can utilize the remaining funds for approved postsecondary expenses. This may create an unintended incentive for participants to minimize early education costs in order to save the funds for college.

Return to the LEA. A participating student may return to the LEA at any time, at which point, the ESA would be closed, and any remaining funds returned to the state. However, there is no requirement that any balance remain in the ESA at the time of return. An ESA participant could use all disbursements up to that point (e.g. approved computer hardware or other technological devices) and return to the LEA without penalty, at which point the LEA bears the entire financial burden of educating the child for the remainder of the school year.

Enrollment Limit. Enrollment is capped at 5,000 in the first year but will triple to 15,000 by the fifth year, assuming sufficient applications are submitted. The Governor plans to budget $25 million in each of the next three years to fund the anticipated first year of implementation in 2021-2022. It is difficult to image how this ESA program with a maximum enrollment could be funded in five years without significantly reducing the funds available for public education. Imagine what improvements could be made to public schools across the state that would benefit all students (approximately 1 million) with the $125 million dollars being spent on a small fraction of students (15,000 or less by year 5).

LEA Reimbursement. The Governor's proposal was reported to include a reimbursement model to compensate LEAs for loss of funds associated with ESAs. While the bill creates an annual grant to reimburse LEAs in the amount of BEP funds diverted to ESAs, it limits the reimbursement period to 3 years and restricts the use to school improvements. Following that 3-year period, the grant funding will go exclusively to priority schools. This begs the question, how are LEAs supposed to
compensate for the loss of funding due to ESAs? There is no indication that any funding will be provided for the loss after year 3 of the program.

Fraud Prevention. Other states with ESA programs have experienced rampant fraud. Some states only provide funds on a reimbursement basis after receipts are provided. The Governor's proposal, on the other hand, requires the department to fund the ESA account at least quarterly and not on a reimbursement basis. The most recent amendment does require that certain expenses be pre-approved, but this will not eliminate all fraud based on the experiences in other states.

Eligibility. The administration purports to target low-income families with this legislation, but the ESA will be available to middle-class families as well. Income eligibility requirements are based on 200% of the federal income threshold for free lunch, which amounts to 260% of the poverty level. For example, a family of five with a household income of $76,492 will qualify. Click here to see the applicable federal income guidelines. Further, income eligibility is only considered upon initial
application for the program. A participating family could double their income or even win the lottery and not become ineligible. Eligible districts (i.e. those with 3 or more priority schools) include ASD, Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, Madison and Shelby.

These districts contain approximately 1/3 of the schools in Tennessee (572 of 1822).
Probable expansion. Creation of any voucher program is a slippery slope.
Programs have been expanded from their initial form in all other states with
ESAs/vouchers.

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your efforts. Finally, if your district has passed a Resolution Opposing ESAs, please let me know.

Kind Regards,
Garrett Knisley
TSBA Director of Government Relations and Communications / Staff Attorney
This

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: LENNON KATHY
Subject: Re: Byrd removed from subcommittee chairmanship following anti-voucher vote
Date: Thursday, March 28, 2019 12:11:35 PM

Wow

Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 28, 2019, at 11:51 AM, LENNON KATHY <lennon_k@hcde.org> wrote:

GEEZ!

Kathy Lennon
School Board Member District 2
Hamilton County Department of Education

From: TNJ On the Hill <onthehill@tnjournal.net>
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2019 11:42 AM
To: LENNON KATHY

Subject: Byrd removed from subcommittee chairmanship following anti-voucher vote

Byrd removed from subcommittee chairmanship following anti-voucher vote

Embattled state Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) has been removed as chairman of House enducation subcommittee a day after voting against Gov. Bill Lee's school voucher proposal.

House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) announced the move Thursday, The Tennessean reports.

"Following discussions with members of the House and after careful consideration, I have formally asked Representative ...

View the entire post:
http://onthehill.tnjournal.net/byrd-removed-from-subcommitteechairmanship-
following-anti-voucher-vote/
No longer interested in emails from On the Hill?. Please click here to unsubscribe
Byrd

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: McClendon Tucker
Subject: Fwd: Voucher Income Qualifier - clarification please
Date: Friday, March 29, 2019 4:45:55 PM
Attachments: image001.png
See below money info

From: GOLDBERG BRENT <goldberg_b@hcde.org>
Date: March 25, 2019 at 7:48:36 PM EDT
To: Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>

Subject: Re: Voucher Income Qualifier - clarification please

I think the article is using the FY 18/19 amounts and I went ahead and used the FY 19/20 amounts since they are already published. 
Thanks for sharing the article. Good info.
Brent

Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 25, 2019, at 7:46 PM, Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>
wrote:

This IEA info is very helpful -- thank you!

Regarding the income qualifier, I shared an article with the delegation that has similar, though not exact, numbers: http://onthehill.tnjournal.net/heres-a-look-atincome-limits-for-lees-school-voucher-proposal/

Here's a look at income limits for Lee's school voucher proposal – TNJTNJ -

Jenny Hill

* * *

From: Tammy Baxter
Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 2:57 PM
To: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia <edwards_nakia@hcde.org>
Subject: Your opinion

Curious your thoughts on the bill for vouchers. Do you think it will be good for Hamilton county or hurt the public schools?

Tammy

Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
From: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 3:11 PM
To: Tammy Baxter
Subject: RE: Your opinion
Attachments: HCBOE_ESAtalkingpoints4_2_19.pdf

Funny that you asked! See attached a summary from our school board member, Jenny Hill, that I think pretty clearly lays out the challenges with the legislation as proposed. We really need to focus on investing in public schools, in my personal opinion. And Hamilton County has many school options that we provide. We just need monies for transportation! Imagine if the state proposed to create funding to support public school choice options – which could be used towards offsetting transportation costs. 

What are you hearing in your area? Do folks support this legislation?

T. Nakia Towns Edwards, Ed.D.
Chief of Staff
3074 Hickory Valley Road | Chattanooga, TN 37421
(p) 423-498-6715| ext. 20175
website | facebook | twitter | Instagram | youtube
-----Original Message-----

* * *

Prepared by: Jenny Hill
School Board, District
6 Hill_Jenny@HCDE.org
Hamilton County Board of Education HB939/SB795 – Talking Points 4/1/19 Page 1 of 7
House Bill 939 / Senate Bill 795 – Education Savings Accounts
Hamilton County Impact
April 2, 2019

Governor Lee has stated that he wants low-income students who are zoned for low-performing
schools to have a chance for a better education and a choice of where to go to school. In creating an ESA program, he intends for these students to have the choice to attend a private school.
The Hamilton County School Board is responsible for working for the good of every student in our
community. We have studied HB939 and have determined that as written (v. 6637) it will not
meet the Governor’s stated goals for the bill. Further, it has the potential to damage public
education in Hamilton County and create a significant expense for county taxpayers.

Our primary concerns:

• Income qualifier – to ensure this program benefits low-income students, we should
qualify students who are eligible for free lunch – an income of $33,475 for a family of 4.
Instead, this bill qualifies students whose families make DOUBLE that amount – $66,950 for
a family of 4. The average income in Hamilton County is $47,000 – for single parent homes
that's $27,464.
• Zoning qualifier – to ensure this program helps students move out of low performing
schools, we should qualify only students who are zoned for (and attending) low-performing
schools. Instead, this bill will allow ANY student in the district to qualify for a voucher –
even if they’re zoned for a high-performing school.
• Academic accountability – Tennessee has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to
increase academic rigor and performance. Just as we want families of children in public
school to be able to know how the schools perform – we owe it to families participating in
the ESA program to ensure that every school qualified to accept a voucher is also
consistently delivering an excellent education to all its students.
Student assessments – To qualify for this program, private schools should be required to administer ALL of the same tests as public schools administer – at every grade level and for every enrolled student – and report ALL of the same data publicly. Instead, this bill requires only math and language arts tests for the students who receive the ESA voucher – less than half of the academicaccountability tests their peers in public school will take.

School assessments – This program makes the assumption that a private school can provide a better education than a public school. The Tennessee Department of Education – and parents participating in the program should KNOW that the privateschool is in fact performing better for all students than the public school the child is leaving. To participate in the ESA program, private schools should be required to maintain TVASS scores of 3 or higher.

Fiscal Realities

In addition to our concerns for families participating in the program, we must also consider how
shifts in funding could affect our students and tax payers.

Spending per student in Hamilton County: $7,219
State BEP Funding: 51% – $3,681.69 per student
County BEP Funding: 49% – $3,537.31 per student
State fee to administer ESA program: $433.14 per voucher (6%)
Actual value of voucher in Hamilton County: $6,785.86
Hamilton County Projected Cost

For the first 3 years of the program, the State will fund it’s BEP payment for the ESA and also will
reimburse Hamilton County for the BEP payment for students who elect to leave the public system
and go to private school. In year 4, Hamilton County will lose state funding and be required to pay
the Hamilton County local funding as well.

ESA Vouchers (1/4 of available) 

State Reimbursement of Funding for Private School Tuition
Hamilton County Taxpayer Cost to Fund Private School Tuition
Hamilton County Schools Lost Funding
Year 1: 5,000 ESAs 1,250 $4,602,112 $4,421,637 $4,421,637
Year 2: 7,500 ESAs 1,875 $6,903,168 $6,632,456 $6,632,456
Year 3: 10,000 ESAs 2,500 $9,204,225 $8,843,275 $8,843,275
Year 4: 12,500 ESAs 3,125 $0 $11,505,281 $22,559,375
Year 5: 15,000 ESAs 3,750 $0 $13,806,337 $27,071,250

Other fiscal considerations to note:
• Funding is tied to students. Hypothetically this means that fewer students equal less cost to
taxpayers to educate them However, as we’ve seen with our other choice options, students do not all leave from a single school or grade level. Students leaving at random does not equate to cost savings. We do not anticipate seeing dramatic reductions in class size and therefore would not expect to reduce the number of teachers (the ratios are required by law).
• This bill will allow students from other counties or states – who have never been in our schools – to move to Hamilton County and claim a voucher. Hamilton County is then obligated to pay for private school tuition until the student graduates.
• Some religious schools in our area require statements of faith for attendance – or even have different tuition costs dependent on your religion and local church affiliation. This could lead to lawsuits. The state is difficult to sue, so it’s most likely that Hamilton County and Hamilton County Schools will bare the expense of costly litigation.
• ESAs are limited in number, but there is no mechanism in the bill to commit a specific number of vouchers to each school district affected by the bill. This is a double-edged sword. With a good PR campaign a community could claim a large percentage of the available vouchers – leading to significant expense for local taxpayers and the school district – while also preventing students in need across the state from the potential benefits of an ESA.
• Students who choose to claim a voucher can return to Hamilton County Schools at any point during the school year – but the money to fund their education will have already been spent at the private school. There will be no funding until the next academic year for the child, though Hamilton County will be required to educate the student and be responsible for any academic deficit the student has.

Public School Choice Options in Hamilton County

Families in Hamilton County have numerous public and charter educational choices for their students. From elementary to high school, Hamilton County Schools is working diligently to pioneer the “My Future Schools” concept – the idea being that no one school is right for every child. The following choices are available for students in the 2019-2020 school year:
Elementary Middle High
Magnet Schools (transportation available)
Barger Academy of Fine Arts - Elementary
Battle Academy - Elementary
Brown Academy - Elementary
Donaldson Environment Science Academy - Elementary
Center for Creative Arts - Middle and High
Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences - Elementary Middle and High
Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts - Middle and High
East Lake Academy - Elementary
Lakeside Academy - Elementary
Normal Park Museum Magnet - Elementary and Middle
STEM School - High
Tyner Academy - High
Tyner Middle Academy X- Middle

Future Ready Institutes (transport 2019-2020 TBD)

Brainerd High – Institute of Law, First Responders and Forensic Science - High
Brainerd High – Institute of Aviation - High
Brainerd High – Institute of Entrepreneurship - High
Central High – Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechatronics - HighX
East Hamilton Middle/High – Bryan College Institute of Leadership, Business, and Marketing - High
East Hamilton Middle/High – Institute of Innovative Engineering - High
East Ridge High – Institute of Engineering and Design - High
East Ridge High – Institute of Building Construction - High
East Ridge High – Institute of Leadership - High
Hixson High – Institute of Integrative Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources - High
Hixson High – Institute of Health Careers and Medical Advancement - HighX
Hixson High – Institute of Business Leaders and Owners - High
The Howard School – Erlanger Institute of Healthcare and Innovation - High
The Howard School – Institute of Hospitality and Tourism - High
The Howard School – Institute of Robotics and Welding - High
The Howard School – Institute of Architecture and Construction - High
Lookout Valley Middle/High – Institute of Technology and Multimedia - High
Lookout Valley Middle/High – Institute of Automotive Maintenance and Manufacturing - High
Ooltewah High – Institute of Architecture and Engineering Design - High
Red Bank High – Institute of Engineering and Computer Science - High
Sequoyah High – Institute of Industrial Manufacturing - High
Soddy Daisy High – Institute of Media and Entrepreneurship - High
Tyner Academy – EPB Institute of Technology and Networking - High
Tyner Academy – UTC Institute of Teaching and Learning - High
Tyner Academy – Institute of Health Sciences International Baccalaureate Studies
Ooltewah High IB - High
Signal Mountain Middle/High IB - High
Early College - High

Hamilton County Collegiate High School - High
Mechatronics Akademie at Volkswagen - HighPolytech Academy 

Open Enrollment Schools
Dalewood Middle School - Middle
Howard Connect Academy - Middle
Lookout Valley Middle/High School - Middle and High
Red Bank Middle School  Middle
Rivermont Elementary - Elementary
Soddy Daisy Middle School - Middle
Woodmore Elementary School - Elementary
HCDE Choice Options – 53 (11 Elem. 10 Middle 32 High)

Charter Schools

Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence - Elementary and Middle
Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy - Middle and High
Chattanooga Preparatory School - Middle
Ivy Academy - Middle and High

Total Choice Options (60) 12 14 34

Other choice considerations to note:
• Transportation is a key ingredient for students to access the numerous opportunities in Hamilton County. Hamilton County Schools’ magnet transportation program was developed with federal grant funding for a finite number of years. A similar program focused on choice opportunities could help Hamilton County Schools accelerate comprehensive county-wide My Future Schools transportation. 
• Expanding public transportation options and routes in the City and County would be a tremendous asset for Hamilton County students and their families.

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
Subject: Fwd: Time for an ESA conversation?
Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 1:08:56 PM
Attachments: HCBOE_ESAtalkingpoints4_2_19.pdf
ATT00001.htm

Wow- Jenny is on it!

Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:

From: Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>
Date: April 2, 2019 at 12:53:43 PM EDT
To: "rep.patsy.hazlewood@capitol.tn.gov"
<rep.patsy.hazlewood@capitol.tn.gov>
Cc: "Johnson Dr. Bryan" <johnson_bryan@hcde.org>
Subject: Time for an ESA conversation?
Patsy:

Good afternoon! The ESA bill will be in front of finance soon and I'd love to talk with you before then if at all possible. When do you have a few minutes -- via phone or in person here in Chattanooga?

I've compiled a lot of info about the projected costs to Hamilton County and Hamilton County Schools as well as other fiscal considerations. Likely many on my mind are on yours too!

You'll find that document attached. It also contains details of all the choice options that families in Hamilton County can access if they wish -- 60 total -- 12 elementary, 14 middle, and 34 high school choice options exist currently in addition to traditional zoned schools.

Please let me know what works best for you.

Thank you for your service to our county!

Jenny
Jenny Hill
School Board District 6

* * *

From: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
To: OMARKHAIL JEANETTE; Hinkle Steven; KELLEY DIAMOND
Subject: Education Savings Accounts
Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 3:46:00 PM
Attachments: HCBOE_ESAtalkingpoints4_2_19 (002).pdf
image003.jpg

You all may have already seen this, but see summary of key points from our board member, Jenny
Hill. Feel free to pass along….

T. Nakia Towns Edwards, Ed.D.
Chief of Staff

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan

To: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
Subject: Re: ESA communication work -- your thoughts
Date: Monday, April 8, 2019 1:10:07 PM

I spoke to her on timing. I think she waits a week or two for commission. Will catch you up. We
need to know when it goes to full vote.

Get Outlook for iOS

From: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia <edwards_nakia@hcde.org>
Sent: Monday, April 8, 2019 1:03 PM
To: Johnson Dr. Bryan
Subject: Re: ESA communication work -- your thoughts

I think her op ed is fine.
I think she should go to County Commission as a representative of the school board- if her
other board members (or chair) agree. The County Commission seemed to express some
confusion around what the ESA legislation does.

T. Nakia Towns Edwards, Ed.D.
Chief of Staff
Hamilton County Department of Education
edwards_nakia@hcde.org

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
Sent: Monday, April 8, 2019 12:32:48 PM
To: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
Subject: Fwd: ESA communication work -- your thoughts

Take a glance at an OpEd she is about to run for Sunday. Thoughts for feedback on areas she
should highlight?

Get Outlook for iOS

From: Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>
Sent: Monday, April 8, 2019 11:40 AM

To: Johnson Dr. Bryan
Subject: ESA communication work -- your thoughts

Bryan:
Attached you'll find a draft of an OpEd I'm planning to submit to the TFP to run on Sunday. I
welcome your input.
Also, David Sharpe has asked me to address the county commission on the ESA bill. I don't want
to cause any difficulty for the system regarding the budget, so I'd like your thoughts on that as
well.
I'm also attaching the talking points I've already sent to the entire commission. If I present, I'd
use this document as a guide for what to share with them.
Best,
Jenny

Jenny Hill
School Board District 6

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: WINGATE JOE
Cc: Ford Sherrie
Subject: Re: Reply Requested - ESA Resolution
Date: Monday, April 8, 2019 4:28:43 PM

Haven’t heard any more from them
Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 8, 2019, at 3:47 PM, WINGATE JOE <wingate_j@hcde.org> wrote:
My understanding is that CLASS is making a statement on behalf of the large systems.
Joe
Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 8, 2019, at 3:43 PM, Ford Sherrie <ford_sherrie@HCDE.ORG> wrote:
Are we working on this? Please see below.
Sherrie

From: Garrett Knisley <gknisley@tsba.net>
Date: Monday, April 8, 2019 at 3:42 PM
Subject: Reply Requested - ESA Resolution
Board Secretaries:

Please let me know if your board has passed a resolution opposing Education Savings Accounts. I am working to compile a list for the legislators and I want to make sure it is accurate. I appreciate your response.

Kind Regards,
Garrett Knisley

Director of Government Relations and Communications / Staff Attorney

Tennessee School Boards Association
Office: (615) 815-3907
Mobile: (615) 294-0600
Fax Number: (615) 815-3911
http://www.tsba.net

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Hill Jenny
Subject: Re: ESA communication work -- your thoughts
Date: Monday, April 8, 2019 1:12:16 PM

Jenny- I believe this nails it! Only question is do we accentuate the accountability that is in place
for public schools a bit more. There was/is a three year grace period. I think we elevate the fact
that our public school, teachers and leaders are expected to perform now. We don’t get a reprieve
or cushion on the amount of time before we are publicly held accountable. Heck even my
evaluation is public :).

* * *

From: Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>
Sent: Monday, April 8, 2019 11:40 AM
To: Johnson Dr. Bryan
Subject: ESA communication work -- your thoughts

Bryan:

Attached you'll find a draft of an OpEd I'm planning to submit to the TFP to run on Sunday. I
welcome your input.

Also, David Sharpe has asked me to address the county commission on the ESA bill. I don't want
to cause any difficulty for the system regarding the budget, so I'd like your thoughts on that as
well.

I'm also attaching the talking points I've already sent to the entire commission. If I present, I'd
use this document as a guide for what to share with them.

Best,
Jenny
Jenny Hill
School Board District 6

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan

Sent: Monday, April 8, 2019 12:32:48 PM
To: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
Subject: Fwd: ESA communication work -- your thoughts

Take a glance at an OpEd she is about to run for Sunday. Thoughts for feedback on areas she
should highlight?

From: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
To: Johnson Dr. Bryan
Subject: Re: ESA communication work -- your thoughts
Date: Monday, April 8, 2019 1:03:45 PM

I think her op ed is fine.

I think she should go to County Commission as a representative of the school board- if her
other board members (or chair) agree. The County Commission seemed to express some
confusion around what the ESA legislation does.

T. Nakia Towns Edwards, Ed.D.
Chief of Staff
Hamilton County Department of Education
edwards_nakia@hcde.org

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Robert Gowan
Cc: CLIFFORD DAVIS; Mark North; John R. Barker; Bob Thomas; rayj@scsk12.org; Chris Henson; Elizabeth Millsaps
Subject: Re: TSBA meeting with Governor next Tuesday re: ESA legislation
Date: Tuesday, April 9, 2019 8:05:46 AM

I plan to attend and would welcome a call later this week.

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 9, 2019, at 7:48 AM, Robert Gowan <robert@millsapsgowan.com> wrote:
We have gotten calls from CLASS board members asking questions about a meeting the TSBA has scheduled with Governor Lee next Tuesday afternoon (April 16th) to discuss the ESA bill. We know that the directors from each of the five districts that would be impacted were also invited. If any of the CLASS directors or their designee is planning to attend please let us know and we will
give you the latest developments on the ESA legislation.

If there is interest we can also set up a conference call today or later this week
with the CLASS directors to coordinate messaging.
Thank you.

Robert Gowan
--------------------------------
Millsaps Gowan Government Relations
P.O. Box 159249
Nashville, TN 37215
Cell and Text: 615.418.9219
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertgowan/

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Robert Gowan
Subject: Re: TSBA meeting with Governor next Tuesday re: ESA legislation
Date: Thursday, April 11, 2019 7:56:51 AM

I can do anytime 3;15 after on Friday

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 11, 2019, at 6:56 AM, Robert Gowan <robert@millsapsgowan.com> wrote:

Can you let me know your availability for a call with the other CLASS directors on Friday afternoon at 2 pm Eastern or after? Thanks!

On Apr 9, 2019, at 7:05 AM, Johnson Dr. Bryan
<johnson_bryan@hcde.org> wrote:

I plan to attend and would welcome a call later this week.

* * *

From: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
To: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia; Johnson Dr. Bryan
Subject: Re: Missing?
Date: Friday, April 12, 2019 6:56:32 AM

I think this is good to go. Nothing pressing to add at this time. ESA information is interesting...

T. Nakia Towns Edwards, Ed.D.
Chief of Staff
Hamilton County Department of Education
edwards_nakia@hcde.org

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
Sent: Friday, April 12, 2019 4:06:21 AM
To: Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
Subject: Missing?
Board Update
March 12, 2019

Accelerating Student Achievement
TNReady- Our testing window begins on Monday. The Accountability and Research team has worked closely with schools to implement all the safeguards we can at the system level to support schools. We are hoping for a smooth administration.

Future Ready Students
Innovation and Choice- Our district has worked to accelerate innovative opportunities for students
across the system. This link https://www.hcde.org/cms/One.aspx?
portalId=350278&pageId=6715756 takes to the webpage on the options within our district. We are
actively working to identify ways in which we accelerate innovation and choice options.

Great Teachers and Leaders

Classroom Organization and Management Program (COMP)- One of the items I mentioned last
evening that the Talent Team has implemented this year is COMP training. We now have several
teacher leaders certified as trainers. Erin Kirby has led this work. She received the feedback below
from a first-year teacher that I am sharing as a excerpt from an email to the trainers:
One piece of feedback given to me on Monday (and not yet reflected on the final survey) came from a first year teacher. She said COMP saved her. She said she was ready to quit and very close to being put on a PIP when this workshop began. At her summarize convo with her administrator, she was told to keep doing what she’s doing because she’s GREAT! Y’all, that’s INCREDIBLE! You helped her do that! What a game changer. Another first year teacher shared her Summative with me on the last day - ALL 3s and 4s!!! She’s consistently taken advantage of our NTN and COMP trainings and it shows! And finally, another new teacher said strategies she has used for. COMP have been adapted schoolwide !!!

Efficient and Effective Operations

ESAs- The information below was shared with me from CLASS in regards to the potential impact on our system of Education Savings Accounts:
In FY19, Hamilton County had an ADM of 43,701. If we assume a take rate of 20% of the vouchers
(one of five counties), they’ll lose 1,000 kids in year one. This means that in the first year, they’ll
receive a 2.3% reduction in their state BEP draw, since the state withholds the state and local portion from the BEP payments so the local doesn’t have to cut a check to fund the ESA. Last year, their total state BEP draw was $163,538,000. The reduction will be about $3.6 million, of which about half is local tax dollars since they’re a 51/49 district.
At full implementation, these numbers will be six times larger than what’s listed above, meaning the
state BEP payments will be over 13% less than they are currently. Put differently, the local funding
body is going to have to figure out how to cover a nearly 15% hole in the district’s budget, or reduce
program/staff by over $21m. 
Moreover, the movers from Georgia and the kids that age into the voucher program will not draw
transition fund dollars in years one through three, as they will not have attended a TN public school
the previous year.

Middle School Athletics- This update was shared last evening due to the fact that several of you had questions about what was being proposed. This is not currently a front burner issue. The purpose was to update. I have asked Brad to continue to study this and bring a proposal forward later this summer or early next fall. There is no impact regardless for the 19-20 school year. Although, not specifically articulated within FR2023 any shift could have an impact on operations, thus the desire to bring this to you.

Budget Sessions- As a note, going forward we will ensure that budget info is shared first at budget
work sessions. Although, the Health RFP, Sub program and athletics could have budgetary
implications, we do want to be mindful of ensuring you have the most robust pieces of budget
information first.

Engaged Community

Superintendent Awards Banquet- Just a note that the keynote speaker will be our new Education
Commissioner, Dr. Penny Schwinn.
Children’s Cabinet- As shared earlier, we are preparing for the launch of this cabinet. Mayor
Coppinger and I have a meeting on Monday with a group of community members (student support
groups, philanthropy, etc.).

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: WINGATE JOE
Subject: Board Update
Date: Friday, April 12, 2019 4:07:40 AM

Efficient and Effective Operations
ESAs- The information below was shared with me from CLASS in regards to the potential impact on our system of Education Savings Accounts:
In FY19, Hamilton County had an ADM of 43,701. If we assume a take rate of 20% of the vouchers
(one of five counties), they’ll lose 1,000 kids in year one. This means that in the first year, they’ll
receive a 2.3% reduction in their state BEP draw, since the state withholds the state and local portion from the BEP payments so the local doesn’t have to cut a check to fund the ESA. Last year, their total state BEP draw was $163,538,000. The reduction will be about $3.6 million, of which about half is local tax dollars since they’re a 51/49 district.

At full implementation, these numbers will be six times larger than what’s listed above, meaning the
state BEP payments will be over 13% less than they are currently. Put differently, the local funding
body is going to have to figure out how to cover a nearly 15% hole in the district’s budget, or reduce
program/staff by over $21m.

Moreover, the movers from Georgia and the kids that age into the voucher program will not draw
transition fund dollars in years one through three, as they will not have attended a TN public school
the previous year.

* * *

Jenny Hill
School Board, District 6
Hill_Jenny@HCDE.org

Real Choices for Every Child
Reality Check for Evaluating Education Policy

I have two children. One thrives in the spotlight. The other wants to know how everything works. Right now they attend the same public school. It works for both of them. But if one day my tinkerer needs more hands-on learning or my orator wants to accelerate her path to college, we have choices.

In Hamilton County we have 60 different school choices beyond the one my children are zoned to attend. In fact, by enrolling them in a magnet school, we’ve already exercised our privilege of choice. Beyond that, if we made some sacrifices, we could move our children to a private school – or even home school them. As a middle-class family we have so many choices. And we like it that way.

Governor Lee likes choices too. He wants to give low-income students “stuck” in low-performing schools the choice to trade their public education for money to attend a private school. At first glance, the Education Savings Account bill sounds like it could open up a world of opportunity for students and families who have historically been underserved by our government systems.
But will it? Will this new voucher program – estimated to cost Hamilton County taxpayers $13.8 million annually by year 4 (and the school system $27 million in lost funding) – create real choice for those children who need it most?

I submit that as we work to expand education choice options in Tennessee we evaluate every proposed policy on the basis of whether it provides a credible choice for all students to receive a quality education. Let’s ensure that our policies and legislation are dedicated to greater inclusion, particularly for those who have few credible choices now.

Because an unrealistic choice isn’t a choice.

An ESA voucher in Hamilton County will be worth about $6,785 after the State takes its 6% fee. Chattanooga’s average private elementary school tuition is about $9,500. Middle and high school tuition averages around $14,000 annually. That’s just tuition; not including uniforms, technology, transportation, and sometimes not even lunch.

So will a $6,785 voucher really afford a low-income child in a low-performing school in Hamilton County the chance to attend a quality private school? Maybe. If our community works hard to make it happen. But here’s the rub: this new bill doesn’t require families to be low income. And it doesn’t require that a child attend a low-performing school. (In fact, at the most recent amendment, a family of four can have an income of $66,950. Average Hamilton County income is $47,000.)

Unfortunately with this bill written this way, low-income urban children will likely be excluded from this new choice opportunity. That being the case, is it worth it to Hamilton County taxpayers to write multi-million dollar private tuition checks ad infinitum for a small group of middle-class students, like mine, who have numerous education choices already?

Further, are we comfortable spending these large sums with minimal accountability for academic progress or fiscal responsibility?

What if those dollars stayed in Hamilton County? How might we use them to create realistic, high-quality choices for all of our students countywide? Transportation would be high on my list.

Of the 60 current choice options in Hamilton County Schools, we provide transportation to just 13 of those programs. Imagine the opportunity we open up for children in every part of our community if students had access to our 25 Future Ready Institutes, our 2 International Baccalaureate programs, our 3 Early College programs, and our 7 open enrollment schools.

Hamilton County Schools are dedicated to becoming the fastest improving school system in Tennessee. Great things are happening and every student deserves an opportunity to make a choice to attend the school that best meets their needs. Let’s advocate for real choice for all students. It’s what’s best for kids.

* * *

From:
To:
Subject:
Date:
Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia
Redacted Personal email (Dr. Edwards)
Fwd: Cost of ESA bill for each eligible district
Saturday, April 13, 2019 10:19:51 AM
T. Nakia Towns Edwards, Ed.D.
Chief of Staff

Hamilton County Department of Education
edwards_nakia@hcde.org

From: Robert Gowan <robert@millsapsgowan.com>
Sent: Friday, April 12, 2019 10:54:56 PM
To: CLIFFORD DAVIS; Andre Dean; David Sevier; Maria Stewart; Sharpe Robert; Towns Edwards Dr. Nakia; Mark North; Chris Henson; Cameo Bobo; Jordan Christie; JENNIFER ERVIN; Hill Jenny; Bob Thomas; Johnson Dr. Bryan; Elizabeth Millsaps; Corey Harkey; Alishia Green; Gini Pupo-Walker; thompson@lobbytn.com; Jennifer Owen; Stephanie Love; Amy Frogge; GOLDBERG BRENT 

Subject: Cost of ESA bill for each eligible district
MEMORANDUM
TO: CLASS Working Group
FR: Robert Gowan & Elizabeth Millsaps
DA: April 12, 2019

RE: Cost of ESA bill for each eligible district

As we discussed on our call this morning, we have prepared estimates of how much the ESA program will cost each individual district.
The estimates below are based on the ADM for each district used to calculate the BEP for 2018-19 and the 2018-19 BEP distribution. These estimates assume that ESAs would be evenly distributed across the eligible districts. For example, Davidson County has 26.26% of the students in the eligible districts, so we assumed that Davidson would have that percentage of the total ESA participants (1,313 out of 5,000). The amounts listed below would be withheld from each district's BEP distribution.

The first number is the cost of the first year (5,000 students). The second number is the cost of full
implementation (30,000 students):

Davidson: $10,629,438 / $63,776,627
Hamilton: $5,056,914 / $30,341,483
Knox: $6,782,174 / $40,693,045
Shelby: $14,292,687 / $85,756,122
Madison: $1,462,953 / $8,777,719
Total: $38,224,166 / $229,344,994

As you can see, the $25M that would be included in the state budget to hold districts harmless would not cover the cost of the program in the first year. At full implementation $25M would not cover the cost of ESAs in Hamilton County alone: the smallest of the CLASS districts.

Please let us know if you have any questions.
Robert Gowan
--------------------------------
Millsaps Gowan Government Relations
P.O. Box 159249
Nashville, TN 37215
Cell and Text: 615.418.9219
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertgowan/

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan

To: Elizabeth Millsaps
Cc: Robert Gowan
Subject: Re: Hamilton numbers - ESAs
Date: Monday, April 15, 2019 10:03:32 AM

We continue to twirl. Thank you. I also met with Sen Watson Friday evening.

Sent from my iPhone
On Apr 15, 2019, at 9:54 AM, Elizabeth Millsaps <elizabeth@millsapsgowan.com> wrote:

I just want to underscore what a testament it is to you and your team. He’s completely turned around his option of HCS since you came on board. He was one of our biggest obstacles because he had so little face in your predecessors.
Thanks for your hard work and congratulations on a badge of honor!

Elizabeth Millsaps
615.310.1121

On Apr 15, 2019, at 6:42 AM, Robert Gowan <robert@millsapsgowan.com>
wrote:
Assume you saw that Gardenhire is a no on ESA. This is huge. And it sounds like he has a lot of confidence in you and your team. Also huge.
Sent from my iPhone
On Apr 11, 2019, at 5:23 PM, Robert Gowan
<robert@millsapsgowan.com> wrote:

Dr. Johnson -
We will talk about all of the information in this email and more during the conference call with the other CLASS district directors tomorrow at 3:15 eastern - but we wanted to touch base with you before then to see if you are planning to come to Nashville next week for the meeting with the Governor and when you are planning to be here.

As you may have figured out, Hamilton County has become a focus of the voucher fight since Sen. Watson chairs finance. The voucher bill must have 6 votes to clear the Senate Finance Committee. We believe we have 5 no votes (Briggs, Gilmore, Hensley, Yager and Yarbro) and we are working to get one more no or a pass. Senators Watson, Haile and Stevens are our targets.

The voucher bill is scheduled in Senate Finance on Tuesday at 8:30 am, but the committee may not get to the bill since they only have the committee room for an hour and a half and the committee will likely take up the Governor’s budget amendment prior to considering any bills. The charter commission bill is also on this calendar and that bill could take some time, too.

I don’t know what your relationship is with Sen. Watson, but you could be very influential in helping the committee decide whether the bill goes forward or not. In the Senate Education Committee yesterday there was testimony from one of the voucher proponents that school districts would see their per pupil funding increase if the ESA bill becomes law. After that testimony, one of the lobbyists we are working with from TEA sent us the information below on how the ESA bill
could impact Hamilton County. I don’t know if you will lose 1,000 students in the first year, but I do think that you will eventually start losing money from the BEP that will be paid to former Georgia residents who move into the district, never attend HCS and receive a voucher - paid for out of your BEP distribution. Please feel free to give me a call anytime before our call tomorrow afternoon if you would like to discuss any of this information.

Thanks.
Robert Gowan
615.418.9219
Begin forwarded message:

From: "Sutton, Drew [TN]"
<DSutton@TNEA.ORG>
Subject: Hamilton numbers
Date: April 11, 2019 at 4:17:35 PM CDT
To: 'Robert Gowan'
<robert@millsapsgowan.com>,
Elizabeth Millsaps
<elizabeth@millsapsgowan.com>
Cc: "Wrye, Jim [TN]"
<JWrye@TNEA.ORG>

I thought it might be worthwhile to pull together some Hamilton County numbers in advance of Dr. Johnson’s visit next week. I’m sure he has more detailed insight to offer about financial impact, but here are some topline numbers.

In FY19, Hamilton County had an ADM of 43,701. If we assume a take rate of 20% of the vouchers (one of five counties), they’ll lose 1,000 kids in year one. This means that in the first year, they’ll receive a 2.3% reduction in their state BEP draw, since the state withholds the state and local portion from the BEP payments so the local doesn’t have to cut a check to fund the ESA. Last year, their total state BEP draw was $163,538,000. The reduction will be about $3.6 million, of which about half is local tax dollars since they’re a 51/49 district.

At full implementation, these numbers will be six times larger than what’s listed above, meaning the state BEP payments will be over 13% less than they are currently. Put differently, the local funding body is going to have to figure out how to cover a nearly 15% hole in the district’s budget, or reduce program/staff by over $21m.

Moreover, the movers from Georgia and the kids that age into the voucher program will not draw transition fund dollars in years one through three, as they will not have attended a TN public school the previous year. Hope this is helpful.

Drew
Drew Sutton
Government Relations Coordinator
Tennessee Education Association
O: 615 242-8392 ext. 117
C: 615 946-0681
F: 615 242-7397
Educating Our Children, Engaging Our Parents,
Empowering Our Schools

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: HCDE BOARD MEMBERS
Subject: House ESA Bill
Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 9:27:42 PM

Jeanette O. provided me with this update. Please note the LEA responsibility after year 4:

Here are highlights

The House finance committee—in a surprising move—decided to take up the voucher bill tonight. Deputy Speaker Matthew Hill (Jonesborough) brought an amendment that rewrote the bill. Notable changes include the following:

The ESA program would be limited to Davidson, Shelby, Hamilton, and Knox counties.

The program would have a hard cap of 30,000 students upon the fifth year.

There is no sunset on the proposed ESA program.

After the fourth year of the ESA program, LEAs would be responsible for the local portion of the BEP.

Students would only be required to take the ELA and math TNReady assessments.

The bill also creates a pilot grant program for all other districts not included in the ESA program that have at least one priority school.

This is certainly not an exhaustive description of the bill, but it does provide some highlights.

The bill passed out of the Finance committee 13-8:

YES: Casada (exercising his self-awarded right to vote), Baum, Crawford, DeBerry, Hill, Holt, Kuman, Lamberth, Lynn, Ogles, Reedy, Tillis, Zachary
NO: Camper, Gant, Hazelwood, Hicks, Sexton, Shaw, Staples, Windle

The bill will go to Calendar and Rules at 8:00 a.m. and almost certainly be heard on the floor of the House tomorrow morning.

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Hill Jenny; CLASS Update
Subject: Re: CLASS Update - 4/19/19
Date: Friday, April 19, 2019 10:53:26 AM

Thank you Jenny! Tuesday will be an interesting day for sure.

From: Hill Jenny <hill_jenny@hcde.org>

Date: Friday, April 19, 2019 at 10:50 AM
To: CLASS Update <classupdate@hamiltonschools.onmicrosoft.com>

Subject: CLASS Update - 4/19/19

There are many education bills behind the budget as well as a PE bill still in the works. Those
behind the budget seem unlikely to move this year. The PE bill reduces the number of minutes a student is required to have PE each week. If written well it could reduce the number of PE teachers required at a given school/system.

Charter Authorizer Bill -- passed House and Senate this week.

ESA Bill

Political Pressure

Some of the key soft-no/yes votes are in Governor Lee's home district. He has been spending
lots of time with them in the district and handing out state grant money to the districts.
Governor Lee's administration has submitted a supplemental budget that includes grants for
soft yes votes.

CLASS says that Haslam never participated in this type of pressured negotiations. [My own
editorial question: WHY does he want this so badly that he is willing to go so low as to hand
out grants for votes?????]

House

Approved in House Finance Wednesday night

Scheduled for a floor vote House Floor Tuesday 4/23 at 9 am.
House Details - current
Applies to Shelby, Davidson, Knox, Hamilton and the ASD
30,000 student limit after 4 years
Household income: twice eligibility guidelines for free lunch
Homeschool not included
Parents required to provide drivers license or other proof of citizenship for student to participate [this is an attempt to keep undocumented students out of the program]
Hold harmless grant funding split between participating districts and rural districts with priority schools [This is the "reimbursement" the governor has promoted.

CLASS doesn't think this will stay in the final bill. Seems like a way to get the rural votes in that committee. The cost is much more than the original $125m in the bill because of the way the text reads.]

"The annual grant amount disbursed to an LEA pursuant to subdivision (b) (2)(A) is as follows: (i) For the first fiscal year in which the program accepts participating students, subject to appropriation, seventy five percent (75%) of the ESA amount awarded to participating students under the program who meet the requirements of subdivisions (b)(2)(A)(i)-(ii); (ii) For the second fiscal year in which the program accepts participating students, subject to appropriation, fifty percent (50%) of the ESA amount awarded to participating students under the program who meet the requirements of subdivisions (b)(2)(A)(i)-(ii); and (iii) For the third fiscal year in which the program accepts participating students, subject to appropriation, twenty five percent (25%) of the ESA amount awarded to participating students under the program who meet the requirements of subdivisions (b)(2)(A)(i)-(ii). (C) The department shall also disburse an annual school improvement grant to LEAs that have priority schools as defined by the state's accountability system pursuant to § 49-1-602, but that do not have participating students in the program as follows: (i) For the first fiscal year in which the program accepts participating students, subject to
appropriation, twenty five percent (25%) of the ESA amount awarded to participating students under the program who meet the requirements of subdivisions (b)(2)(A)(i)-(ii); (ii) For the second fiscal year in which the program accepts participating students, subject to appropriation, fifty percent (50%) of the ESA amount awarded to participating students under the program who meet the requirements of subdivisions (b)(2)(A)(i)-(ii); and (iii) For the third fiscal year in which the program accepts participating students, subject to appropriation, seventy five percent (75%) of the ESA amount awarded to participating students under the program who meet the requirements of subdivisions (b)(2)(A)(i)-(ii).]

Must notify state if you move out of the participating district Senate

On the Senate Finance Committee calendar Tuesday 4/23 at 8:30a
Lt. Gov Ramsey told press that the senate will have an amendment to include only Shelby and Metro Nashville.
Senate Bill -- current version
Applies to Shelby, Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, Madison and the ASD
30,000 student limit after 6 years
Household income: twice eligibility guidelines for free lunch
Homeschool included
Parents required to provide drivers license or other proof of citizenship for student to participate
Hold harmless grant funding for participating districts only
Must notify the state if you move out of the state

Jenny Hill
School Board District 6

* * *

From: Johnson Dr. Bryan
To: Sara Bunch
Subject: Re: Sen. Watson ESA Vote
Date: Friday, April 19, 2019 2:16:59 PM
Attachments: image001.jpg
image002.jpg

Thank you Sara! The Senator and I have definitely been in contact

Sent from my iPhone
On Apr 19, 2019, at 12:01 PM, Sara Bunch <sara@tosstn.com> wrote:

Good Afternoon Bryan,

The Senate Finance, Ways, & Means Committee will be voting on the ESA/Voucher bill next Tuesday morning at 8:30 CT. As of right now, we have heard that Sen. Watson will be a no vote, but we need your help to ensure that happens! Please reach out to him and be sure he will be there and he will VOTE NO on SB795.

Thank you again for all that you do! Have a wonderful Easter weekend.

Sara Bunch
Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents
401 Church Street, Suite 2710
Nashville, TN 37219
sara@tosstn.com
www.tosstn.com
<image001.jpg>

From: Sara Bunch <sara@tosstn.com>
Date: Monday, April 15, 2019 at 8:55 AM
To: Bryan Johnson <johnson_bryan@hcde.org>
Cc: Dale Lynch <dalelynch@tosstn.com>
Subject: CONTACT SEN. WATSON ASAP!

Good Morning Bryan,

As you know I’m sure, it came out this weekend that Sen. Todd Gardenhire out of Chattanooga plans to vote against the Governor’s ESA bill in the Senate Finance, Ways, & Means Committee tomorrow. This is BIG news, as he has actually sponsored voucher bills in the past. This gives us some renewed hope that we could actually work to kill the bill in this committee on the Senate side. Sen. Watson who also represents your district Chairs this committee. Do you know how he’s planning to vote? Please blow up his phone about this bill. We need a NO vote from him! I’ve included some talking points below, if you need them.

Keep up the good fight! Thank you again for your work.

ESA Talking Points:
1. As written this would allow students who are in a district with at least 3 schools in the bottom 10% (not just those zoned to attend those schools in the bottom 10%) with an annual family income of 200% of the free lunch requirement, to use ESA money to attend a private school.
a. That would be ~$67,000 per year for a family of four.
2. Once they are in the program, they can remain in the program, even if their circumstances change (they move out of the district with those 3 schools in the bottom 10% or their income outgrows the 200% of the free/reduced lunch range).
3. There’s no sunset provision.
4. Both state and local portion of the per pupil funding follows the student to the private school.
5. Not truly the student’s choice but the private schools’. They would not be required to admit the ESA students.

SENATE VERSION – What’s Different?
1. The Senate Bill does allow the ESA to be used for HOMESCHOOLING (while the House version does not).
2. The Senate Bill caps the program at 30,000 students (while the House version caps at 15,000).
3. The Senate Bill does not require TNReady tests to be taken by participating students; allows them to choose between TCAP (Math & ELA) and a nationallynormed test (like ACT or PARCC).
4. The Senate Bill allows the money to be spent on:
a. Tuition or fees at a participating school;
b. Textbooks required by a participating school;
c. Tutoring services provided by a tutor or tutoring facility that meets the requirements established by the department and the state board;
d. Payment for purchase of curriculum, including any supplemental materials or instruments required by the curriculum. As used in this subdivision (a)(4)(D), "curriculum" means instructional educational materials for an academic course of study;
e. Fees for transportation to and from a participating school or educational provider paid to a fee-for-service transportation provider;
f. Fees for early postsecondary opportunity courses and examinations required for college admission;
g. Services provided under a contract with a public school, including individual classes or extracurricular programs;
h. Computer hardware or any other technological device approved by the department, if the computer hardware or technological device is used for the student's educational needs and is purchased through a participating school, private school, or provider;
i. School uniforms, if required by a participating school;
j. Tuition and fees for summer education programs and specialized afterschool education programs, as approved by the department, which do not include afterschool childcare;
k. Tuition and fees at an eligible postsecondary institution; Textbooks required by an eligible postsecondary institution;
l. Educational therapy services provided by therapists that meet the requirements established by the department and the state board; or m. Fees for the management of the ESA by a private or non-profit financial management organization, as approved by the department. The fees must not exceed two percent (2%) of the funds deposited in a participating student's ESA in a fiscal year.

Sara Bunch
Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents
401 Church Street, Suite 2710
Nashville, TN 37219
sara@tosstn.com
(615) 254-1955
www.tosstn.com
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