NASHVILLE: Today, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced next steps for the K-12 public education funding review process that includes a new student-based funding formula and more than $750 million in proposed investment.
Lee is proposing a brand-new student-based K-12 public school funding formula TISA (Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement) improving the way Tennessee funds public schools for the first time in more than 30 years. In January, the draft framework of the new funding formula was released, and an in-depth overview of the TISA and associated bill language is expected to be released by mid-February.
“Our approach is about funding students’ unique needs and that funding will follow the student to his or her public school,” Lee said. “I believe we have the capability, the resources and most importantly the desire to not let this become a multi-year project that turns into another 30-year, outdated formula. The time is now.”
“Tennessee now has an opportunity to propose an entirely new way in how we fund public education to help drive positive outcomes for students,” Schwinn said. “We encourage Tennesseans to review the language that will be released later this month as we take bold action to reshape our public school funding formula to best support the future of our students and our state.”
The TISA would allocate funding to districts according to the needs of individual students, including “base” level funding to cover expenses needed to educate any public school student, “weighted” funding for expenses to cover supports for students with unique learning needs, “direct” funding for additional supports and programs, and “outcomes” funding to reward specific academic outcomes. Additionally, it will provide greater public transparency around how state funds are spent to support student learning and success.
After Lee announced the state would review its public school funding formula, 18 funding subcommittees have made recommendations to a steering committee of members of the Tennessee Legislature. The department provided over 1,000 opportunities and reminders for the public to engage and provide feedback, including 16 public town halls and local match conversations across the state, Twitter town halls, and other events statewide. The department collected over 1,300 public comments from Tennesseans statewide, which produced consistent recommendations, and after years of dialogue, cemented what needs to be done for Tennessee students. Additional information can be found here.
For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov.