Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityDeadline looming: Parents, students in Chattanooga could soon have to do more with less | WTVC
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Deadline looming: Parents, students in Chattanooga could soon have to do more with less

File photo: Getty Images.
File photo: Getty Images.
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$328 million in school money could soon be lost, after a federal report says the state used the money inappropriately or didn’t provide documentation.

The money is part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and is designed to support migrant education, low income community schools and special education.

For Roddey Coe, it's not a surprise.

"In the community, we've known for years, that services weren't being rendered," says Coe.

Disability advocate Roddey Coe's son Ethan is one of many Hamilton County students who could be affected by the loss of funds.

"I'm hopeful that Tennessee will fix the accountability issues that are causing this. And we can still get that money," says Coe.

The federal government says Tennessee was first confronted with this issue in 2018, were given a report requiring changes in 2021.

State leaders have 30 days to submit evidence that the state has taken steps to correct these issues, or risk losing Title I, part A funding, which helps fund low-income schools.

Federal documents say the state received more than $328 million in Title I, Part A funds in 2021.

"I am placing a condition on TDOE’s Title I, Part A grant award until such time as these issues are fully resolved," the letter says.

“It's a significant portion. If those dollars were to stop, it would impact communities across the state,” Professional Educators of Tennessee Executive Director JC Bowman said.

Read the full letter below:

Bowman says the state was first warned in 2018, then in 2021 this federal report found 14 deficiencies that needed immediate correction.

"Why did they not respond? I would like to see any response to that," says Bowman.

A spokesperson for Hamilton County says this affects 15 million dollars in their budget and they are scrambling after just discovering this issue Monday.

Hamilton County says they also use this money for teacher stipends, tutors, and school supplies. The district says they will develop a plan of action if the funds are lost.

We reached out to the TDOE about the letter and report.

They sent us a statement: "The department is in the midst of the public engagement process required by law in order to amend the state's ESSA plan."
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