The Tennessee General Assembly begins its 2016 session today.
The Tennessee School Boards Association has released an agenda that includes opposition to vouchers and funding of items mentioned in prior BEP Review Committee reports.
Here it is:
TSBA firmly believes in the success of Tennessee’s public schools and the opportunities they have provided and continue to provide to children. The association acknowledges the challenges that public schools face as well as the need for continued improvement, and its member boards of education are dedicated to reaching the goal of every child achieving his or her highest potential. We believe we can help accomplish this goal by focusing our legislative efforts on the following areas:
Local Control of Schools TSBA believes that local boards of education are the best equipped and informed to make decisions to address the needs and challenges of their local schools. TSBA opposes any efforts to diminish or impede upon this local control.
Maintenance of Effort Penalties TSBA believes that the responsibility and accountability for funding schools should be connected. Rather than the state withholding BEP funds if a local budget is not timely adopted, TSBA supports legislative changes to shift the penalty to the funding body whereby the state would withhold local sales tax dollars.
Maintenance of Effort Requirements TSBA supports legislative efforts to change the local responsibilities of funding bodies to ensure that they provide at least a 3% increase every three years.
Publicly Funded Vouchers TSBA opposes any expansion of the special education voucher program as well as any new legislation that would divert money intended for public education to private schools.
Minimum Instructional Time TSBA supports legislation to provide an option to school districts to meet instructional requirements through a minimum number of instructional days or a minimum number of instructional hours.
Fees for Inspection of Records TSBA believes that the public’s ability to inspect records must be weighed with the burden on staff to comply with open records requests and supports legislation to allow for reasonable fees when LEAs must create numerous documents and/or expend several man hours in order to comply with a request for inspection.
BEP Recommendations and Priorities TSBA urges Governor Haslam, the General Assembly, and the Department of Education to continue efforts to fund all of the recommendations and priorities of prior reports of the BEP Review Committee.
The Tennessee School Boards Association will actively support legislation relative to these and other issues as determined by its Resolutions and Position Statements.
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