A state organization tasked with providing research on the operations of state and local government has released a report suggesting Tennessee’s school funding formula, the BEP, needs at least $1.7 billion to adequately fund public education in the state. TACIR — The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations — released “K-12 Education Funding and Services.” Here are some notes:
* Report shows local governments spend at least $1.7 billion over BEP requirements.
* “Comparisons of BEP-funded to actual positions show that school systems often need to hire more staff than provided for by the formula” (Page 18)
* “In fiscal year 2018-19, the BEP funding formula generated a total of 62,888 licensed instructional positions, but school systems employed a total of 69,633 with state and local revenue.”
“Although the changes made in 1992 and since have resulted in substantial increases in funding to support the BEP, meeting local needs and the requirements imposed by the state and federal governments often requires more resources than the BEP funding formula alone provides. Consequently, state and local funding in fiscal year 2017-18 totaled $2.1 billion over and above what was required by the BEP formula, including a total of $1.7 billion in local revenue.”
“Given the ever evolving needs of communities in Tennessee and the likelihood that the BEP funding formula could better account for these needs, the Commission recommends that a comprehensive review of the components be made by the BEPRC or other designated state and local officials and other stakeholders to ensure that the BEP funding formula supports a commonly accepted basic level of education for Tennessee students.”
The TACIR report, showing a gap of nearly 7000 teachers, comes on the heels of a Tennessee Department of Education report indicating a “teacher gap” of 9000.
Additionally, the $1.7 billion identified by TACIR is slightly more than the $1.5 billion targeted by a group of legislators seeking to bring the BEP up to a level of adequacy.
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