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HUNTINGDON (April 5) — State Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden) was the featured speaker at the Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Forum on April 5. The representative is an avid …
HUNTINGDON (April 5) — State Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden) was the featured speaker at the Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Forum on April 5. The representative is an avid supporter of school vouchers for students in failing school districts, solely in the five metro areas.
“I lived that life of grinding poverty,” said Holt, who sought and found a way to lift himself from that situation. He said he is the first in his family to have a college degree. Once a resident in the inner city, he now resides on a rural farm in Weakley County with his wife, Ellie, and six children. He said the financial assistance from the state, $25 million in the first year for the ESA, is new allocated funds and is not taking away from the $6.4 billion allocated to public schools.
David Duncan, director of schools for Hollow Rock-Bruceton, said the $7,000 per student allocation will not get students into a private school, which is overwhelmingly $9,000 to $30,000 annually.
Holt said competition of schools can help reduce the overall costs. He said Central Christian Academy in Martin is approximately $5,300 annually. Overall, public schools in northwest Tennessee are excellent, said Holt.
Another teacher said she is a Republican but does not support state funding for schools in which the teachers will not be held to the same standards as those in public schools. ESA students would have fewer requirements of testing, said the teacher.
Holt said public schools must administer too many tests and he hopes public schools have fewer mandates. He said eastern and western Europe has forced a part of government in every part of education.
In other subjects, Holt said Tennessee is the best managed state in the union, has no debt on its highway system, and its economy is booming. He noted the state’s great fiscal position is a product of years of good management. “There is not another state better managed,” said Holt. He said the state is facing recurring expenses with recurring revenues.
As for the northwest Tennessee area, Holt said it is doing better at keeping pace now than in previous years. Northwest Tennessee has lacked the state in several areas of development.
Holt serves as chairman of the Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee and a member of the Finance, Ways, and Means Committee, and a member of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.