Thursday, February 09, 2023

Tennessee House Speaker Mulls Rejecting US Education Money

 Cameron Sexton said rejecting nearly $1.8 billion of federal K-12 education dollars would let officials to "educate the kids how Tennessee sees fit."

Cameron Sexton
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP), Feb 8, 2023 - One of Tennessee’s most influential Republican lawmakers says the state should stop accepting the nearly $1.8 billion of federal K-12 education dollars that help provide support for low-income students, English learners and students with disabilities.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton told The Associated Press that he has introduced a bill to explore the idea during this year’s legislative session and has begun discussions with Gov. Bill Lee and other key GOP lawmakers.

“Basically, we’ll be able to educate the kids how Tennessee sees fit,” Sexton said, pointing that rejecting the money would mean that Tennessee would no longer have “federal government interference.”

To date, no state has successfully rejected federal education funds ...  The idea has also come up elsewhere in recent months among GOP officials, including in Oklahoma and South Carolina.

According to Sexton, Tennessee is currently in the financial position to use state tax dollars to replace federal education funds. ... the state could easily cover the federal government’s portion. Federal dollars make up a small slice of Tennessee’s K-12 education funding, ... “We as a state can lead the nation once again in telling the federal government that they can keep their money and we’ll just do things the Tennessee way,” ... Spokespersons for both Gov. Lee and Sen. Randy McNally appeared open to entertaining Sexton’s proposal. (read more)

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