NASHVILLE - Grappling with a budget gap that could reach $1 billion, Gov. Phil Bredesen said today he may cut $82 million in planned improvements to the state's Basic Education Program funding formula for local schools.
"I hope things get a lot better," Gov. Bredesen told state Education Commissioner Tim Webb as he kicked off a week of public budget hearings this morning. "People are talking about another six months of (federal) stimulus (funds) ... but failing that, we're talking about $1 billion in state monies."
Gov. Bredesen's remarks are the first sign that the $3.9 billion BEP, a sacred cow in previous budget cuts, could be impacted in the next budget.
He also warned state and local schools that they will likely lose another $48 million in non-BEP programs that were saved in the current 2009-2010 budget through the use of federal stimulus funds.
Those programs include coordinated school health programs and extended contracts to master teachers under the Career Ladder program.
For complete details, read tomorrow's Times Free Press.