‘Race to the Top’ Funds Can’t Plug Budget Holes, and Won’t Create New Ones Later, Bredesen Says

Governor Phil Bredesen is reminding people that federal “Race to the Top” funds can’t be used to plug budget holes. That’s after Tennessee was chosen to receive a federal $500 million for classroom innovation.

Bredesen says he hopes some of the money establishes new programs that a future governor would want to continue, even after the federal money goes away. But he says Race to the Top doesn’t tie anyone’s hands in future budgets.

“One of the great things about this money is it really can’t be used to fill budget holes. It goes for the kinds of things that are really important for the long run but really easy to push back each year.”

Bredesen says budget planners can set a timeline and end dates for the various education programs Race to the Top will fund. That includes extra training for teachers, help for failing schools, and specialized classroom work in science, technology and math.

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Bredesen says getting the Race to the Top program off on the right foot will likely be one of his main focuses during his waning months as governor.

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