Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Lee says his newly enacted school voucher law won't go into effect next year if the state isn't ready, adding that he'll know by early 2020 when to begin implementing the program.

However, the Republican governor told reporters on Friday that he remained hopeful the state was on track to expand education savings accounts in Tennessee.

Education officials are currently working to set up the program that diverts tax dollars to private education and allows participating families to receive debit cards worth up to $7,500 in state money each year.

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn told Lee in a budget hearing on Friday that the new voucher program would cost a total of $37.5 million if 5,000 students participated during the first year.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.