Apparently Gov. Phil Bredesen can find $12 million to fund his party bunker from a very tight state budget but the hundreds of millions of excess lottery dollars just sitting around collecting interest cannot be touched to build classrooms for public school students despite the FACT that the TN Constitution allows this use of those funds.
Bill Hobbs has details and quotes from the Tennessee Journal (subscription needed).
Instead of coming up with another proposal to use some of the lottery surplus to fund school construction, Bredesen appears to be leaning toward a last-minute proposal from House Democrats to divert the money instead to a loan fund for projects that improve the energy efficiency of public school buildings, the TJ reports.That makes no sense. You want maximum energy efficiency? Replace portables with brick and mortar. And loans? Not grants? Why do we have to further encumber our school districts by requiring them to go into debt for improvements when the cash is available?
Hobbs points out:
Nine school systems have more than 10 percent of their classes in portables.Last year the best Bredesen could do was to create the Lottery Bank of Tennessee:
Gov. Bredesen has already suggested in his State of the State address that lottery funds be used for loans to local school districts.So, high on the Governor's list of construction projects is a party facility for himself, the legislators, lobbyists and other unnamed swells. Low on his construction priority is classrooms for children. Oh, he'd loan the school systems the money but an outright grant to the systems to do what is best for the children? No.
Why is this party facility necessary? Why do the swells get more than comfortable accommodations and our school children don't even get safe and secure ones?