Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee will immediately begin pushing a significant school choice program after being thwarted for almost three years.

Lee released an announcement on Wednesday after a judge lifted an injunction that had prevented it from being implemented.

"Today the court removed the final roadblock to getting Memphis and Nashville families additional options for high-quality education," Lee said. 

"Starting today, we will work to help eligible parents enroll this school year, as we ensure Tennessee families have the opportunity to choose the school that they believe is best for their child," he continued.


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, shown here in January delivering his delivering his State of the State address in Nashville, called the Hope Clinic attack an act of "terrorism."  (AP/Mark Zaleski)

The Republican governor said the Tennessee Department of Education will make Education Savings Account resources available online soon.

Education savings accounts in Tennessee would provide eligible families up to approximately $7,000 in public tax dollars on private schooling tuition and other pre-approved expenses. The goal was to enroll up to 5,000 students in the first year, potentially reaching as many as 15,000 students in its fifth year.

The program was pushed as Lee's signature legislation on the campaign trail and was to start during his first year in office in the fall of 2020. However, after the legislation faced legal battles and was approved in the 2019 Supreme Court ruling, knowing how quickly the program could be rolled out was a challenge.

Gov. Bill Lee's voucher program held up in the Tennessee Supreme Court

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee talks with reporters Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Lee said Tuesday he's looking to include "meaningful" teacher pay raises in next year's budget despite facing financial crunches brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

"Experts say a program with the complexities of vouchers cannot be rolled out quickly. Private schools have application deadlines months before the school year starts — often by April or May — in order to make hiring decisions during the summer. The state also needs to receive, review, and approve applications from potentially thousands of families," according to Chalkbeat.

Officials proposed to launch the program in the 2023-24 school year and were hesitant to promise a quicker timeline without being able to fulfill it. 

The American Federation for Children Tennessee State Director John Patton told Fox News Digital that "this is an important victory for families in Tennessee who desperately need and deserve additional, high-quality educational options."

"Bureaucrats and defenders of the status-quo unnecessarily delayed a program that will deliver life-changing opportunities to children in our state," Patton said.


Lee's move comes after Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed the most "monumental" education savings account program in the United States. 

West Virginia school choice efforts are facing hurdles after a judge shot down a scholarship program offering public money for private education, calling it unconstitutional.

School choice became a salient issue after the COVID-19-induced lockdowns sparked a conversation on the scope of the government’s authority and the type of content that should be taught to children from public school curricula.