Tennessee’s New Public Education Funding Formula Will Likely Increase Taxpayer Burden

Image Credit: tn.gov

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

State and local taxpayer funding for K-12 public education under the current funding formula equates to roughly 2.98% of Tennessee taxpayer income.  Under the recently passed new formula (TISA), that percentage will almost certainly increase.

According to the Education Data Initiative,  under the current formula, state funding totals $5,105,970,000 or $5,068 per pupil with local funding totaling $4,676,995,000 or $4,642 per pupil.

State and local funding is equivalent to 2.91% of Tennessee taxpayer income.

Of the total funding, the taxpayer dollars allocated by the federal government to Tennessee K-12 public schools totals $1,172 per pupil for a total of $1,180,893,000 annually. Federal education funding is the equivalent to 0.35% of the state’s taxpayer income.

Combined with federal taxes allocated to Tennessee public education, the total burden on a typical Tennessee taxpayer translates to roughly 2.98% of total income.

The revised Basic Education funding formula, called the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) aims to increase state and local taxpayer funding for public schools from over $5 billion in previous years to $9 billion in funding for 2024.

An estimated $1 billion in new recurring state funds will come with the funding formula including $250 million for fiscal year 2023 and $750 million for fiscal year 2024.

An additional $750 million in one-time state funds is also anticipated for fiscal year 2023.

TISA will provide a base per-student cost of $6,860 and add weights based on a students’ learning needs, whether the student lives in a low-income household or area or if the student lives in a rural area.

Additional funding also goes to schools for student achievement or participation in programs such as career technical education.

Under the current Basic Education model, much less is spent per pupil than the national average at $9,942 per pupil in K-12 public schools, totalling $10,017,249,000 annually.

Funding for K-12 education in Tennessee totals $10,963,858,000 or $10,881 per pupil.  The difference between spending and funding is $946,609,000 or $939 per pupil.

In a report by Beacon Center Tennessee, the think tank stated that much of the funds meant for students is used up in administrative costs instead, namely in the rising number of vice principals and other administrators employed by school districts across the state.

Governor Bill Lee, a main proponent of TISA, argues that the difference between the new funding formula and the previous one is that it “focuses on students,”  instead of school districts.

Data for Tennessee’s postsecondary level, public colleges and universities from the Education Data Initiative indicates $22,187 is spent per pupil, 37.6% of which goes toward instruction with federal funding for public postsecondary institutions averaging at about $1,338 per student. 

State and local funding averages a combined $8,260 per student.  Tuition accounts for 21.8% of all funding with 6.48% of all postsecondary funding coming from sales and services of auxiliary enterprises.

Tennessee’s 2-year community colleges spend 18.8% of what its 4-year public colleges spend in a year.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

4 thoughts on “Tennessee’s New Public Education Funding Formula Will Likely Increase Taxpayer Burden

  • August 31, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    I, myself would not mind paying more in School taxes as long as Tennessee stops taking FEDERAL MONEY!!! There is where the problem. Once you submit to the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT your rights as a state have just gone out the window.
    Get Tennessee of the Federal Teat!!

  • August 31, 2022 at 5:38 pm

    Incredible. Keep the School Kartel going. What about school vouchers so that parents can get their kids OUT of government funded schools.

    • August 31, 2022 at 7:23 pm

      School vouchers ARE government funding!

  • September 2, 2022 at 6:56 am

    That was the plan all along


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