Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen sent another letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos last month, urging caution as President Trump’s budget moves forward.
McQueen had written previously to alert DeVos to the negative impacts of the budget on Tennessee.
The latest letter warned of deep impacts in rural communities. The Tennessean reports:
In her letter, Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said the elimination of Title II, part A funds in the upcoming federal budget would severely hinder the state’s ability to train teachers. McQueen estimated in the letter that the cuts would hit public school students across the state as well as more than 42,000 students in private schools.
Cuts in the overall federal budget could mean Tennessee could see larger class sizes, slashes to grant funding for pre-kindergarten and teacher training and, eventually, the elimination of athletics and band programs, according to superintendents and child advocacy groups.
I’ve noted previously that districts like Dickson County and Williamson County have County Commissions reluctant to fund school budgets. Many of the state’s rural counties simply don’t have the funds to spend significantly on schools.
It will be interesting to see if County Commissions in the districts most impacted by the DeVos cuts are willing to spend the money to make up for lost federal funds. Additionally, I’m curious as to whether County Commissions and School Boards are actively lobbying DeVos and their Members of Congress over the proposed Trump education budget.
As McQueen notes, should this budget pass, it will mean stark choices for many districts — and even impact a number of our state’s private schools.
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