In Defense of ESAs
Current Status of Lawsuit: the Tennessee Supreme Court has accepted review of the case.
The Beacon Center of Tennessee intervened in Mayor Cooper’s Education Savings Accounts (ESA) lawsuit on behalf of Nashville families. Beacon is defending Nashville mothers Bria Davis and Star Brumfield, whose children would benefit from the recently enacted program.
Bria Davis is a single mother who lives in Nashville. She is the mother of two children, both of whom currently attend a public school in Nashville—a 9-year old boy currently in 3rd grade and a 6-year old girl currently in 1st grade. She is eligible to enroll her children in the ESA program and has taken all of the steps available to apply.
As a single mother, Bria is striving to put her children in the best position with the greatest opportunities. She believes that enrolling her children at Lighthouse Christian School is the best way to give them the opportunities that she never had growing up in Nashville public schools. As a single parent, she does not have the extra income that would allow her to easily send her children to a private school without help, but the ESA program would fully fund tuition at Lighthouse. Without the ESA program, she would either have to keep her children in public schools, hope a family member would help her out, or undergo financial hardship to send them to Lighthouse.
Star Brumfield is a single parent as well, raising six school-aged children. Her 11-year old child, in particular, is an exceptionally bright 6th grader in a Nashville public school but is frustrated by the education he is receiving. After touring Lighthouse, Star became convinced that the learning environment and individual teacher’s attention at Lighthouse would be a much better fit for him. It was at her tour of Lighthouse that she learned of the ESA program. She also learned that Lighthouse would participate, and the ESA would fully cover the cost of her child’s tuition. Elated by this opportunity, Star immediately began the process of enrolling her child at Lighthouse in the Fall of 2020. Star has another child who would benefit too who she would love to send, but she is unfortunately not eligible because she currently homeschooled. Without the ESA, she simply could not afford the tuition and her child would be forced to remain at his current school where he would not be getting the same opportunity to achieve his full potential.
The case is set to determine Metro Nashville’s summary judgment, the McEwan plaintiffs Motion for a Temporary Injunction, and the Parents Motion for Judgment on the pleadings.
The Legal Team
Braden Boucek is the Vice President of Legal Affairs for the Beacon Center.