TN House releases federal education funding report, disagrees with Senate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee is not going to reject federal education funding, at least not yet.

“Is it in the wisest course of action?” Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) said. “Probably not at this time, especially in the financial environment we’re in.”

But the House wants to keep pursuing the conversation. Thursday, it released its own report about the issue, saying it “will continue deliberations on the important topic.”

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“I’m happy with it, I think they put in a lot of time, a lot of effort,” Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) said. “I think it’s going to require more, so we’re happy with the initial process.”

A few weeks ago, the Senate released its own report saying it disagreed with the House’s findings, essentially declaring the issue moot for now.

“They made some changes and sent it back,” Lundberg, who co-chaired the group looking into the issue, said. “We said we’re not quite comfortable there, we feel very strongly about what our report says, and we decided we’ll issue a Senate report.”

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But House Republicans pressed on, with their most glaring discrepancy around food waste. They recommended calling on the USDA to “undertake a comprehensive evaluation of food waste in Tennessee public school systems,” something the Senate report never mentioned and something Democrats slammed.

In fact, the one House Democrat on the committee didn’t even sign off on the report.

“I would assume he doesn’t agree with the philosophy at all,” Sexton said. “That’s a question for him though.”

So, News 2 asked him.

“It’s almost comical, to be honest with you. I’m not sure why we’re concerned with food waste. USDA feeds our kids, the state – when we had an opportunity to ensure every kid did get free meals, they turned it down,” Rep. Ronnie Glynn (D-Clarksville) said. “So, for us to be concerned about waste – if we were paying for it, then maybe we should.”

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Glynn is referring to a bill last year that would have given free lunch to every public school student in the state.

The Republican lawmaker who filed that bill said last year he didn’t have the votes to get it through.

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