Report: House Speaker Sexton to Introduce Bill Banning Federal K-12 Education Funding

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) is reportedly in talks with state lawmakers, lobbyists, and other leaders to introduce a bill that would stop the state from accepting federal K-12 education dollars, according to a Wednesday report by The Associated Press (AP).

Sexton, according to the AP, said the funding for education could be generated by state tax dollars instead.

The AP notes that Tennessee would be the first in the nation to pass such a law, as no state has successfully rejected federal education funds to date.

Sexton said he believes that by rejecting federal funds, “Tennessee would no longer have ‘federal government interference,’ and the state would have more authority to “educate the kids how Tennessee sees fit,” the AP reports.

At the Tennessee Farm Bureau luncheon on Tuesday, Sexton publicly touted the idea to a “packed” room full of legislators, lobbyists, and other leaders, AP notes.

“We as a state can lead the nation once again in telling the federal government that they can keep their money and we’ll just do things the Tennessee way,” Sexton said during the event, according to the AP.

The nearly $1.8 billion of education funding provided by the federal government is relatively a small amount, given that Tennessee’s K-12 education funding had an approximate $8.3 billion budget as of fiscal year 2023, not including Governor Bill Lee’s new $3.2 billion proposal of new spending outlined in his recent budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.

In regards to Sexton’s plan, a spokesperson for Lee told the AP in a statement, “Although we haven’t seen the details of the legislation yet, the governor is always interested in working with the speaker to ensure Tennessee students have the best access to a high-quality education.”

Speaker of the Senate Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) also released a statement to the AP regarding Sexton’s idea, with his spokesman saying, “McNally thinks a discussion about forgoing this money, a relatively small part of overall education funding, in order to maintain more control over how we educate our Tennessee students is a constructive conversation to have.”

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.




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4 Thoughts to “Report: House Speaker Sexton to Introduce Bill Banning Federal K-12 Education Funding”

  1. Ms Independent

    Sexton took away federal unemployment benefits to those of us who lost great jobs due to his and Gov Lee mandatory shutdown so I don’t support Sexton nor Lee on any issue. Hope they …

  2. Mark Rogers

    There is no way this won’t lead to higher state taxes. When teachers and other staff start being laid off and popular prograns start being slashed, the only options will be to have poorer schools or higher taxes. Is an 11 or 12 cent sales tax what you want?

  3. Stuart I. Anderson

    What a wonderful idea from a man who all too often quietly suppressed wonderful ideas introduced by conservatives over the years. Tennessee has enough money to tell the federal government to take its money and the oppressive regulations that come attached and stick them where the sun don’t shine!

  4. Randy

    Eliminating the Federal Department of Education would save a tremendous amount of money Roughly 90 Billion dollars, not including the loan reassignment program. unfortunately about 4000 people would loose their jobs. I suspect that their employment would simply shift to another government agency or they would return to state level Academic Administrator positions where they would continue to provide no value added to childhood learning.. Cue the faux outrage for the cut in funding.