MNPS, state host town hall to discuss education funding

MNPS townhall.jpeg
Posted at 10:12 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 06:33:00-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — School districts across the country are advocating for more resources and more funding.

That includes Metro Nashville Public Schools, which planned a unique discussion Wednesday night.

State education leaders will join MNPS Board of Education members for the town hall.

Parents, educators and the community packed inside the Metro Nashville School Board meeting room for a special town hall discussion.

"When you starve me, you starve an MNPS student because he’s at home and depending on my paycheck," said one parent.

The state is in the process of looking at new ways to fund education in the state and it's doing so with help from the public.

It's part of Gov. Bill Lee’s review of the state funding formula for education.

In Oct. 2021, Governor Lee announced a public engagement process to explore a potential student-based funding formula for Tennessee.

The Tennessee Department of Education created 18 subcommittees to focus on this work, with Tennesseans from across the state providing public comment on what they would like to see funding in a student-based funding formula, and at what levels.

"If we do it right, if we ensure that our funding as a state goes to the needs of every child regardless of where they live, regardless of how they start out, regardless of what their needs might be, that is going to produce significantly better results for our state, but most importantly, give every single child a chance to be successful and to thrive after high school," said Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn

A draft for a new formula was unveiled Tuesday.

It would include additional funding to students who are living in poverty or in concentrated poverty areas, those living in rural school districts, students with unique learning needs and students at public charter schools.

"Certainly, we need better pay for teachers, we need more resources around technology, we need counselors and social workers, " said one teacher during the town hall.

It wasn't just parents and educators who spoke out — even one sixth grade student echoed the concerns to help out teachers.

"My two years in the school that our school supplies are running out in my teachers' classrooms," said Olivia Oliver.

Additional funding would go to students in districts that are fast-growing, need large-scale tutoring assistance and have Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.

People in the state are invited to submit public comments until January 14 in order to be considered.