KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn unveiled details into how the new K-12 student-based funding formula, known as the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement formula, will work. They say the plan includes more money for students and services.
Under the former BEP formula in 2020-21, Tennessee spent on average $11,328 per student according to the National Education Association. State and local funding spent that year on education was $5.6 billion.
TISA would begin in 2024 allocating $6,860 per student as a base with additional multipliers for students who are economically disadvantaged (base x 25%), living in areas of concentrated poverty (base x 5%), in a small or sparse school district (base x 5%), and/or has unique learning needs (varying depending on the need in a range of base x 15-150%).
The state will then spend $376 million in direct funding for literacy, career and technical education, and post-secondary assessments like the ACT. It will also allocate $100 million for outcome-based funding.
The result of the new formula, including the base, weighted, direct, outcomes and fast-growing districts funding, would have Tennessee and local governments spending $9 billion on education in 2024. The state and local governments would split base and weighted costs 70/30. The state would cover the rest of the funding.
Schools with low marks could be asked to defend themselves before the General Assembly and risk facing corrective actions by lawmakers. The goal is to finalize the overhaul of the funding formula by the end of the 2022 legislative session.
Knox County Superintendent Bob Thomas said the preliminary information they received from the state appears positive.
“We are continuing to review the details and still have a lot of questions on what this might mean in actual dollars for Knox County Schools,” Thomas said. “We do appreciate the governor and commissioner for their work in reviewing the existing funding model and their efforts to improve funding for education.”