House panel OKs bill to let Tennessee end pre-K funding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A House subcommittee has advanced a bill to allow Tennessee to cancel federal pre-kindergarten funding if a court were to rule that the program must be offered to all of the state’s 4-year-olds.

The House Local Government Subcommittee on Wednesday advanced the measure despite the objections of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration.

Shelby and Davidson counties have been awarded $70 million in federal money to expand their pre-K programs over four years.

House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin said his bill would halt those payments in the event that a judge ruled that the rest of the state would be required to offer universal pre-K.

Two Shelby County lawmakers raised serious reservations about the measure, but the panel advanced the bill on a voice vote.