House Approves More School Funds, Accountability

Nashville (AP) -- Tennessee House members approved spending more on kindergarten through senior high school education and requiring more accountability for student performance on Thursday.

Governor Bredesen proposed to raise school funding by reworking the complicated Basic Education Program, or BEP, which allocates spending between state and local governments.

The entire proposal would cost the state about $476 million more a year, but Bredesen has said he wants to start out by funding about a $280 million segment of it in the upcoming budget year.

Bredesen wants to pay for the changes by raising the state's current cigarette tax of 20 cents per pack.

A provision would allow the state to take over failing schools sooner.

The Senate also may vote on the proposals Thursday.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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