Two Republican state Senators say they're optimistic that a compromise could be close at hand on a long-debated school voucher proposal.
State Senators Brian Kelsey and Mark Norris told the Associated Press bills they've proposed this session may bring the two sides closer to compromise. Governor Bill Haslam's vision for a voucher program is to start small. The version he supported in 2013 called for a voucher program initially open only to low-income students attending the bottom five percent of schools. Senate Republicans wanted the program opened to a larger pool of students, generally those in the bottom ten percent of schools. Since then, the two sides have been in stalemate.
Sen. Norris' bill is close to the version envisioned by the governor. But Kelsey's bill is closer to the Senate proposal. The two legislators remained tight-lipped on exactly how their measures could bring the two sides to an agreement. Speaking to reporters this week, Gov. Haslam gave little ground on his proposal. Sen. Kelsey's bill was scheduled for a Wednesday hearing in a Senate committee, but he delayed it, saying he's willing to compromise.