April 2, 2008
Education Committee approves Sen. Tracy’s bill for
capital improvements for K-12 schools
Would provide $3.6 million
for Rutherford Schools, $700K for Murfreesboro Schools
(Nasvhille, TN, April 2, 2008) – The Senate Education Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) to distribute $100 million in excess lottery reserve funds for K-12 school construction and capital outlay. The legislation would provide $3.6 million to schools to Rutherford County in matching grants.
“I am very pleased with the legislation that we have crafted in the State Senate and that has moved forward this week, said Senator Tracy. “Our Education Committee approved legislation providing a major boost for lottery scholarship opportunities and has balanced this by addressing K-12 construction needs, as well. This legislation would fulfill the voter’s mandate, which is clearly set out in the constitutional amendment, to use some of the excess funds for building or making major repairs to our K-12 schools.”
The constitutional amendment creating Tennessee’s lottery scholarship program adopted in 2002 also approved the use of excess dollars for three purposes. The amendment listed K-12 construction as the first purpose, new Pre-Kindergarten classes as the second, and after school programs as the third. However, Tracy said K-12 construction was the only facet of the amendment yet to be enacted, even though it was listed first on the ballot. No funds from a separate $12.7 million reserve fund that has been accumulating
specifically for the purpose of K-12 capital improvements have been disbursed either.
“Rutherford County has a tremendous need to build schools,” said Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess. “Anything we can get to help us with our need to fund the building of schools is greatly appreciated.”
Burgess is joined by many other county governments and school boards that have sent resolutions to the legislature in support of the legislation. The bill is also supported by the Tennessee School Board Association.
“These lottery excess grants for K-12 schools would be a tremendous boost to help bring many schools in Tennessee into the 21st century,” Tracy added. “It will also be helpful in keeping taxes low in our communities as the demand for new school buildings or improvements continues to grow.”