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Haslam's voucher panel debates when to launch

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A task force appointed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has skipped over the question of whether to create a school voucher program. Instead, the panel's most spirited debate Wednesday was about how soon vouchers could begin to be offered in Tennessee.

Former state Sen. Jamie Woodson of Knoxville, now the head of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, said even if lawmakers approve a voucher program in the spring, properly implementing the program would take until the 2014 school year.

Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown said he was surprised at that timeline, arguing that if the legislation is passed by March, the first vouchers should be issued by the fall of 2013.

The panel is scheduled to make its full recommendations to the governor in November.

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