Photo: TN Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn at Town Hall Meeting Photo Credit: TN Dept of Education / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
Following months of strong engagement and conversations about public education funding in Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Education has announced that over 1,300 public comments were submitted on a potential student-based K-12 public education funding formula in Tennessee.
Comments and input were submitted by hundreds of parents, educators, superintendents, elected officials, business and community leaders, and citizens from across the state.
On Tuesday, January 11, the department released an initial draft framework of a potential student-based funding formula.
As part of a public review and engagement process, public comment on the draft framework and overall funding review engagement process has been shared with the 18 subcommittees to help inform potential recommendations for a new funding formula. Any proposed new funding formula would prioritize strategic investments in students, transparent reporting and accountability, and student-centered decisions.
Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said, “As has been shared in subcommittee meetings, at town halls, on social media, and at local meetings, a new public education funding formula for Tennessee must be centered around our students so that we can ensure our children can thrive in the classroom and be successful after high school.”
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The draft framework for a new student-based funding formula would include “funding for services and supports for K-12 public schools that are currently funded in the existing formula.” The draft framework is available here.
In late December, Commissioner Schwinn gave an update to Gov. Bill Lee on the public school funding engagement process and discussed next steps moving forward. Watch the recording here.
All subcommittee meeting recordings are available online and their final meetings will take place the week of January 24th. Subcommittees will finalize draft formula recommendations to be provided to Gov. Lee and the Funding Review Steering Committee, which is composed of policymakers and legislative leadership, for consideration.
Additionally, public comments have been submitted from citizens throughout Tennessee, including to Tennessee School Funding Ambassadors who have been collecting public comments from their local communities and submitted to the department.
After Gov. Bill Lee announced in October that the state would review its public school funding formula, hundreds of Tennesseans indicated they would be interested in supporting the work of the 18 school funding subcommittees tasked with making recommendations to a steering committee of legislative leaders for a new student-based funding formula in Tennessee.
The department hosted eight public town halls and local match meetings across the state, and created an additional engagement opportunity for Tennesseans to participate in the process as School Funding Ambassadors to collect public comments from community members.
Additionally, members of the Tennessee General Assembly are hosting events across the state. Additional information can be found here.