Gov. Bill Lee shares legislation for new student-based funding formula

Posted at 6:45 AM, Feb 24, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn met Thursday to share their plan for a new, student-based, education funding formula, known as the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement formula.

“After an extensive process with input from thousands of Tennesseans, we are on the cusp of achieving an updated approach to public education that prioritizes students and invests in the future of Tennessee,” Lee said in a news release.

Watch the announcement below:

Lee and Schwinn say the plan includes more money for students and valuable services. Legislation introduced Thursday would give schools $6,860 per student with options to increase that amount depending on the student’s location and needs.

Schools with low marks could be asked to defend themselves before the General Assembly and risk facing corrective actions by lawmakers.

This is the first time in over 30 years the TISA will be updated. State officials report it will change the way Tennessee invests in public education by moving to a student-based funding formula, including the following components:

  • Student-based funding starts with a base funding amount for every public-school student.
  • Additional funding may then be allocated based on weights to address individual student needs.
  • Direct funding is another opportunity for students to receive additional funding allocations to support specific programs, like tutoring.
  • Outcome incentives are awarded based on student achievement to empower schools to help all students reach their full potential.

“From the start of the public engagement process, Tennesseans from across the state have weighed in and developed a strong vision for how to best fund public education,” Schwinn said. “Under the TISA, we will put the funding focus on students and give Tennesseans clear information to understand how districts and schools are using funding to help our students thrive.”

In January, Lee and Schwinn released a draft for the new K-12 funding formula, which incorporated input from thousands of Tennesseans.

The goal is to finalize the overhaul of the funding formula by the end of the legislative session.