Families interested in learning more about how they can use the state’s Education Savings Account Program to send their children to a private school are invited to attend one of three information sessions to be held Nov. 7 and 9.
The sessions are scheduled for:
• 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7, at St. Joseph School, 1225 Gallatin Pike in Madison.
• 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at St. Ann School, 5105 Charlotte Pike in Nashville.
• 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at St. Edward School, 190 Thompson Lane in Nashville.
The State of Tennessee ESA Program staff will provide information and handouts for families to learn about eligibility requirements for the program, the application process, and the use of funds available through the program.
The sessions are open to all current and prospective ESA families. The information will be provided in both English and Spanish. Sister Mary Johanna Mellody, OP, will provide Spanish translation.
During these sessions, families will learn timelines for submitting applications for the 2023 spring semester and the 2023-24 school year that will begin next August.
Families who are interested in attending are asked to RSVP at https://stateoftennessee.formstack.com/forms/fall_2022_community_event_rsvp.
Amber Green, the director of the ESA program, and Lauren Huddleston, director of program and outreach for the ESA program, approached the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Nashville about hosting the sessions around the Nashville area to service the greatest number of interested families.
An information session for school leaders will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Catholic Pastoral Center.
The Education Savings Account program was adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2019 to provide funds for eligible families in Davidson and Shelby counties to use to pay tuition and other education related expenses for their children to attend participating private schools.
The implementation of the program was put on hold while a legal challenge to the program wound its way through the courts. After an injunction on the program was lifted last July, the state moved forward with accepting and processing applications.
Under the program, each Education Savings Account receives $8,192 to pay for private school tuition and fees and other approved educational expenses, such as school uniforms, textbooks, tutoring services, computer hardware, educational therapies or services, summer education programs, specialized after-school programs or other educational purposes.
To be eligible for an ESA, a family must have students entering grades kindergarten through 12th grade who are zoned to attend a Shelby County district school, a Metro Nashville public school or a school in the Achievement School District (ASD). The student must either have attended a Tennessee public school last year for the full school year or is eligible to enroll in a Tennessee school for the first time.
Eligible households must have an annual income for the previous year that does not exceed twice the federal income eligibility guidelines for a free school lunch. For a family of four, the income limit is $72,150. An income chart can be found online at https://esa.tnedu.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/ESA-FAQ-for-Participating-Families_22-23_v2-1.pdf.
Twenty-four students enrolled in Nashville Catholic schools during the fall semester through the ESA program, including 10 at Holy Rosary Academy, eight at St. Edward, five at St. Pius X Classical Academy, and one at St. Ann.