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Gov. Lee signs education bills passed during special session

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Posted at 2:11 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 17:36:17-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gov. Bill Lee signed several key bills that were passed when lawmakers convened last month for a special session on education, including one to increase teacher pay.

Lee called the special session, which concluded on Jan. 22, in an effort to get the state's education system back on track after negative impacts were reported in reading and math comprehension.

In four days, four bills passed through both houses.

A bill to increase teacher pay passed, adding $42 million in the BEP for districts to increase pay. It's a 4% increase, but it doesn't mean pay will be increased for all teachers by 4%.

Republicans called the passage of the laws a win, but some of the bills were controversial and some believe there could be unintended consequences. For example, one bill requires after-school and summer school programs for kids who are falling behind. That same bill would allow districts to hold back 3rd graders who aren't reading on grade level.

However, one controversial proposal didn't pass. It was the bill that would've reduced funding for districts if they didn't return kids to school in the 2021 school year.