by Jon Styf
A Tennessee bill would allow every public school teacher in the state to have $500 to spend on classroom supplies.
The bill would be an adjustment on the $200 initially stipulated for each teacher’s use in the new Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement funding formula, set to begin in the 2023-24 school year.
Companion Senate Bill 24 from Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, and House Bill 7 by Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, would require the funds be given to each K-12 teacher at a public school or public charter school by Oct. 31 of each school year.
The funds from taxpayers must be used for classroom instructional supplies and any funds not used will be pooled at each school to be used for supplies for teachers. The pooled funds also can’t be used for building capital needs or improvements.
“The purpose of these funds is to permit purchase of items of equipment for the benefit and enhancement of the instructional program,” the bill states. “The funds cannot be used for basic building needs such as HVAC, carpets, furniture, items or equipment for the teachers’ lounge, or the like.”
The $500 would have to come from the funds that each school is set to receive under TISA and would not be a separate state appropriation.
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Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Styf is a reporter for The Center Square.
Photo “Scott Cepicky” by State Representative Scott Cepicky. Photo “Joey Hensley” by Joey Hensley. Background Photo “Teacher and Students in Classroom” by Kenny Eliason.