As Tennessee policymakers grapple with reforming the state’s school funding formula (BEP), the President of the Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA) says it’s time to decide whether the state is truly committed to funding public education.
NewsChannel5 reports on school funding and comments made by MNEA President Michelle Sheriff:
Metropolitan Nashville Education Association reports Tennessee is 46th in the nation when it comes to funding schools.
The organization’s president Michele Sheriff said for students to be successful the funding needs to be adequate.
“The state needs to decide. You can’t underfund schools and then say schools are failing students. You have to provide the funding for what students need to see the success moving forward,” Sheriff explained.
While Sheriff and other education advocates are calling for more funding, some state leaders are making other suggestions.
While House Speaker Cameron Sexton has called for a punishment-based incentive system – taking away money from schools and systems that don’t meet certain unnamed benchmarks – state Senator John Stevens has suggested local systems may get too much money from BEP reform.
“I’m not just going to give the locals a windfall by absorbing the costs that they’re supposed to pay for without them having some skin in the game,” Stevens said. “Because all the schools want to do is hire more people.”
Of course, Stevens fails to mention that Tennessee consistently ranks between 44th-46th nationally in state investment in schools and that the state’s own analysis suggests schools are underfunded by $1.7 billion.
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