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TN Senate Dems Denounce Legislation Targeting Federal Pre-K Funds for Davidson, Shelby Counties

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus; February 25, 2015:

NASHVILLE – New pre-K classrooms in Davidson and Shelby counties could be in jeopardy if legislation in committee today passes the General Assembly.

“We know that early childhood education makes a tremendous difference in a child’s life,” state Rep. Antonio Parkinson said. “This legislation would target our state’s two largest school systems and take us a step backward because lawmakers want to make a political point.”

The Shelby County School Consortium and Metro Nashville Public Schools announced in October they will receive $70 million in federal funds for new pre-K classrooms. Whie the legislation is targeted at pre-K, it could have larger implications for local funding. HB 159 would require the state to back out of an agreement to receive federal funding earmarked for a county if the state did not apply on behalf of all local governments.

It will be heard in the House Local Government Subcommittee at 1:30 p.m. today.

“We need to see more pre-K classrooms in every county in Tennessee, but this legislation is not the way to do it,” Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Jeff Yarbro said. “Instead, this legislation would impose a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t reflect the needs and opportunities of different communities.”

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Cohen Announces $6.7 M in Federal Public Housing Funds for Memphis

Press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. 09; February 12, 2015:

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced $6,701,299 in federal funds to help improve and modernize public housing facilities in the Ninth District. The Memphis Housing Authority will receive a total of $6,589,736 and the Millington Housing Authority will receive $111,563 in 2015 Capital Fund Program grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“Quality, affordable housing is crucial as Memphians work to pull themselves out of the recession,” said Congressman Cohen. “Many of these housing units are in need of large-scale improvements, including repairing roofs, replacing old plumbing or electrical rewiring. The infusion of these federal funds will help the Memphis and Millington Housing Authorities make further investments that will make public housing more sustainable.”

This announcement is part of nearly $1.8 billion in public housing grants awarded nationwide, and more than $47.6 million awarded statewide in Tennessee, by HUD today. The Department’s Capital Fund Program provides funding to local public housing agencies to build, repair, modernize, and renovate public housing facilities in their community.