The Tennessee Public Education Coalition is out with a piece on why Gov. Bill Lee’s school funding plan (TISA) is a threat to strong public schools in our state.
Here are some highlights:
Perhaps this year’s greatest threat to legislator incumbency is Governor Bill Lee’s new K-12 funding bill, which he calls the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement act, or TISA. In spite of continued statements from the governor and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn that the administration’s “student-based” funding formula was developed in response to dozens of stakeholder meetings and hundreds of public comments, this funding plan is model legislation developed in 2010 by ALEC, the school privatizing think tank.
In spite of how this bill is being promoted, the primary purpose of this bill is to shift even more of the cost of K-12 education to local taxpayers.
The Tennessee Public Education Coalition has advocated for increased state funding for K-12 education for years. While the Governor’s plan appears to increase the total amount of funding for Tennessee schools, the Governor’s TISA bill actually would increase funding for vouchers and privately-run charter schools.
The state has the means to invest billions of new dollars in public schools. But as Commissioner Schwinn’s recent testimony and The Tennessean’s recent reporting have revealed, local governments eventually will be on the hook for additional local funding if TISA becomes law. And city and county governments do not have billions of dollars in surplus.
TISA’s increased local match requirements will lead to property tax increases that local governments and taxpayers will blame on the new school funding formula if it becomes law.
READ MORE in the Tennessean about why key public school advocates oppose TISA.
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