This is an excellent and comprehensive explanation of why Governor Bill Lee’s voucher plan has been rejected by two levels of the state judiciary. Lee is closely tied to Betsy DeVos, and he really wants vouchers but they are stalled. The legislature decided to put them only in Memphis and Nashville, against the will of the local governments. It seems there are some constitutional principles that matter more than the Governor’s wishes.

We hold that the ESA Act is local in effect and applicable to Davidson and Shelby counties in their governmental capacity,” the court wrote in its opinion.

As a result, the court found that the Legislature violated the Constitution by not allowing required referendums or votes of the county commissions when it approved the ESA program in 2019.

The court also found Metro Nashville and Shelby County had standing to file the lawsuit because county commissions are charged with funding local school systems.

The Legislature approved $25 million in this year’s budget for the program even though the governor decided to put it on hold after the Chancery Court found ESAs unconstitutional.

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, a Memphis Democrat, said the Legislature needs to refund taxpayers for the voucher program and the Achievement School District, which has cost about $1 billion to run mostly charter schools in Memphis.

The state is likely to take the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court, but Parkinson said it is time to stop “wasting” money on the program.

The Attorney General’s Office said it is reviewing the ruling and consulting with the governor on its next steps.

“I think they should put this one to rest, go ahead and bury it and then bury the ASD right beside it and put up on the headstone: ‘We tried,’” Parkinson said.

The attorney for Nashville said the program not only violated home rule but would cost the district $111 million by year five.

Remember when Republicans supported local control?