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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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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