Tennessee Education Officials Schedule Eight Town Halls to Offer Input on Public Education Funding

Staff at the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) have invited all state residents to eight regional public town halls later this month and throughout next month to discuss the state’s public education funding strategy.“These public town halls will spark localized conversations about student-based funding for public education in Tennessee and how to create a new strategy to best serve our students and ensure they are prepared for future success,” according to a TDOE press release.

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Teacher Pay Will Be Issue in Tennessee Public School Funding Review

As Tennessee begins looking at revamping its Basic Education Program (BEP) to fund public schools, one factor looming in the discussion of a new funding formula is teacher pay.

Legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle recognize teacher pay and how the BEP funds teacher pay are an issue.

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K-12 Education Funding Has Doubled in Tennessee Since 1992

K-12 education is the top expenditure in Tennessee’s budget and has more than doubled, adjusted for inflation, since the current school funding plan began in 1992, a Sycamore Institute report shows.

Tennessee’s education funding model, called the Basic Education Program (BEP), is used to disperse state funds to individual school districts. Tennessee spent $5.2 billion on K-12 education in fiscal year 2020, while TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program and second-highest expense, cost the state $3.6 billion.

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Comptroller Report Shows Tennessee Public Schools Spent an Average Nearly $10K per Pupil in 2019-20 School Year

New data from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability shows Tennessee public schools spent an average of $9,753 per student during the 2019-20 school year.

The comptroller data shows the Franklin Special School District had the highest per-pupil spending in the state at $15,582.19. Oak Ridge Schools was second at $13,041.51 per pupil, and Metro Nashville Public Schools was third at $12,374.33 per student. Union County Public Schools had the lowest spending per pupil at $7,935.77.

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State Commission Report: State and Local Education Funding for K-12 Exceeded Basic Education Program Requirements by $2.1 Billion in 2017-18

According to a state commission report that studied education funding for fiscal year 2017-2018, the combined state and local government funding exceeded the Basic Education Program (BEP) funding formula by $2.1 billion.

The report, “K-12 Public Education Funding and Services,” was prepared by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) at the request of then Chairman of the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee Charles Sargent in April 2018.

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