Gov. Lee’s Changed Budget Causes Debate And Worries About Funds For Schools


Governor Bill Lee has given the leaders of the House and Senate of the state a new version of the state budget. It costs about $100 million more than the spending plan he released in February, and top Democrats are calling it bad financial management.

Rep. John Ray Clemmons said, “Governor Lee is destroying the state budget as a whole.”

The GOP says that the new budget amounts to $52.7 billion. Democrats are sure it will cost a lot more and hurt public schools, but that includes an extra million dollars for national school vouchers.

FOX 17 News has learned that the new budget gives schools more than $400 million. There are $145 million in grants and $261 million for schools from K–12.

The catch is that the state thinks the voucher program will cost $400 million over the next two fiscal years and will keep going up.

John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, is angry as a state lawmaker.

“These local governments are the only ones who can pay for it when you blow a hole in the state budget like this,” Clemmons said. “They’ll have to raise property taxes in every county, as well as will taxes and look for other ways to make money at the property level.”
Republicans say this bill gives parents in Tennessee more power and lets them choose the best schools for their children.

So far, we haven’t heard back from the governor when we asked for his opinion.

Representative Clemmons says this budget will ruin public schools.

Rep. Clemmons said, “There will be huge cuts.” “Probably teachers are going to lose their jobs, the biggest employers in some counties being the school system are going to have to make job cuts.”
Clemmons thinks that this bill only helps rich families by sending money from public schools to private schools.

The government is in charge of the budget in the end. We still don’t know how the governor’s changed spending plan will affect the House and Senate education bills that are fighting with each other.

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