The Marshall County Post

Follow Us On:

GOP talks school vouchers

Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 1:00 pm

TRACY HARRIS – Staff Writer

from L to R: Jacob Sorrells, Craig Blackwell, Todd Warner, Joey Hensley – photo by Sharrin Peter

The Marshall County Republican Party met for their monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 16 at 6:00 p.m. Three guest speakers spoke about education, primarily school vouchers. The speakers were Director of Schools Jacob Sorrells, State Representative Todd Warner, and State Senator Joey Hensley.

Director Sorrells spoke first. The first topics were the building program, Marshall County school budget, TISA, and COVID funds. Next, Sorrells jumped right into the reason he was there – school vouchers.

“I don’t agree with vouchers for lots of reasons. But let’s say we did have vouchers, where are our kids going to go? There’s not one here…so why would we want this? When you go to Walmart and buy something that costs $100, you pay $9.25 in taxes. $2.25 stays here in the county. $7.00 goes to the state. The state sends that back out whether it’s through prisons, roads, education, or whatever.” Sorrells applied this example to the school voucher program and said, “I just don’t think it’s a good thing for us in rural Tennessee.”

One homeschooling mom in the audience who’s against vouchers said, “It’s called the honey-coated hook. Once you allow the government in your home, they have authority over you.”

Some of the questions from the audience directed to Sorrells included:

  • can illegal immigrant children without a birth certificate enroll in school?
  • what about going to school without their immunizations?
  • can they go to school without social security cards?
  • scholastic book fairs are full of “smut” do you still allow them in your schools?

Sorrells repeatedly said, “Our job is to love ‘em and teach ‘em,” and that he is not a politician. He reiterated that as an educator, he and his staff “are here to teach.”

Warner and Hensley gave updates on recent legislation. Warner voted against school vouchers in the General Assembly. He said he will continue to vote for what makes sense for his constituents despite pushback from lobbyists, conservatives, and other Republicans.

Hensley discussed legislation on arming teachers and what is required if or when it passes. “Certainly, nobody has to do it if they don’t want to do it – no teachers, no administrators have to. It’s mainly for the schools that don’t have SROs,” Hensley said.

Warner provided BBQ and sides for the meeting. By Monday, April 22, Governor Lee’s proposed school voucher bill was reported dead by numerous news outlets after lawmakers were unable to negotiate the terms. Since this is the last year in the 113th General Assembly, lawmakers will not be able to reintroduce school vouchers again until 2025.

Warner told The Post on Monday, April 22, “In an attempt to bring this massive Washington-style, pork-filled voucher scam to the doorstep of our state, House leadership has betrayed and let down every single student, teacher, administrator, and support staff member in Tennessee.

Despite overwhelming opposition to this bill, some of the most powerful politicians in our state worked in the shadows to make shady backroom deals to line their own pockets and ignore the voices of those who matter most – the voters who elected them to serve. Thankfully, the people of Tennessee have proven that their voices are stronger than a few power hungry politicians in Nashville and our children are way too valuable to be used as political pawns.

As I said from day one, I don’t serve lobbyists or leadership. I serve the people of this great state. I am proud of each and every freedom fighter who has taken the time to make their voices heard and who have proven that it is the politicians who serve the people, NOT the other way around. God bless you, and God bless the great state of Tennessee.”

The Marshall County GOP meets monthly at the TWHBEA Banquet Room at 250 North Ellington Pkwy in Lewisburg on the third Tuesday of each month. Membership dues are $20 per year and meetings are open to all like-minded Republicans.