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Rise & Shine: Longtime providers who lost Tennessee grants for infant and toddler services get sympathetic ear in legislature

Good morning,

State lawmakers lashed out at Tennessee education officials yesterday – asking them to halt awarding millions of dollars in early childhood intervention grants after the state’s new process shut out many local providers. Of the $35 million the state will award annually for services over the next five years, nearly $20 million will go to Indiana-based provider Benchmark Human Services. That rankled lawmakers and local providers alike.

Read more in our exclusive. 

We're also continuing to follow the story of Tennessee's proposed voucher program, which seems like it's changing every day. Our update here details a new twist that will sound familiar to folks who have been following past legislative seasons in Tennessee: the program would be limited to Memphis and Nashville.

Happy reading,

-Caroline Bauman, community editor

EARLY INTERVENTION Half of Tennessee’s 35 longtime providers lost their state contracts in the latest award period in the Tennessee Early Intervention System, which provides educational services for children under the age of 3 with disabilities or developmental delays. Chalkbeat

LATE CHANGES Under the latest proposed revisions to Gov. Bill Lee’s signature education initiative, only students in Memphis and Nashville would be eligible to receive education savings accounts. Chalkbeat

The Senate version of Gov. Bill Lee’s education savings account bill limits the program to Shelby and Davidson County students and strips a provision potentially affecting immigrant students. The Daily Memphian

Gov. Lee’s latest budget proposal includes funding for freshman lawmakers backing voucher plan. The Tennessean

ESA PROTEST  Teachers, parents, and students protest the proposed voucher program with a “funeral.” WTVF, Columbia Daily Herald, WCYB

CHARTER BILL Maury County’s state representative says he will fight for local input on the nine-member independent charter commission that will be formed when Gov. Bill Lee signs the proposed bill into law. Columbia Daily Herald

BUDGET TIME Knox County Schools has released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2020, which includes raising teacher and staff pay, providing resources for at-risk schools and adding teachers for English-language learners and special education students. Knoxville News Sentinel

TESTING SEASON TNReady testing is stressful for teachers as well as students. The Jackson Sun

AQUATIC CONSERVATIONALIST Chattanooga’s “Conservation Kid” adds to impressive year, publishes a book about aquatic conservation, plastic pollution. Times Free Press