Knoxville student inspires amendment to help teachers get money for school supplies


Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) — The voice of a Knox County student is getting louder after what started out as a “fictional bill” is turned into real-life legislation.

It all started with the Knoxville chapter of the Jack and Jill of America program when 11-year-old Nia Vaughn of Karns Middle School drafted and submitted an amendment to House Bill 2604.

“My bogus bill suggested we give every teacher in Tennessee an extra $100 to help buy school supplies,” Vaughn said during his presentation to the House K-12 subcommittee.

Vaughn explained why she thought it was so important.

“A lot of my teachers say, ‘We don’t have enough school supplies, can your child bring school supplies, like papers and pencils? “, Vaughn said. “I really want to help my teachers.

Knoxville Rep. Sam McKenzie turned the “bogus bill” into reality.

“I spoke with a few colleagues, you know, I kind of threw the bill away and said, ‘Hey, why not run the bill? “Said McKenzie. “I think teachers need it.”

Representative Mark White of Memphis said he agrees with the amendment, especially with his experience as an educator.

“I used to teach in school and it’s very important that teachers have supplies for their students’ classrooms, so I encourage you,” White said during the subcommittee.

Together, they’re getting closer to getting Tennessee teachers some extra money for their classrooms, so they can keep more of their paychecks in their pockets.

“Every teacher who has a classroom in the state of Tennessee would have this opportunity to enrich their classroom,” McKenzie said.

While the amendment to HB2604 has already passed unanimously by the K-12 subcommittee, Rep. McKenzie said there are still a few hurdles the amendment would have to clear before it becomes law. He said if it doesn’t pass this year, he would bring it up again in next year’s legislative session.

Knoxville Senator Richard Briggs is the sponsor of the Senate.

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