New school funding formula headed to Gov. Lee's desk

School busses
Posted at 2:33 PM, Apr 28, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee legislature has agreed on the plan to create a new education funding formula for the state.

Tennessee Initiative for Student Achievement (TISA) has passed through both houses in the final two days of the legislative session.

Supporters say this funding plan is superior to the current Basic Education Program funding plan because it focuses on funding particular student needs.

"Maury County is the fastest growing district in the state of Tennessee, fourth fastest in the entire United States," Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, said. "As we grow, our fiscal capacity will climb to tremendous amount of levels where the state is going to cut our funding and my constituents in my district, my school board, my county commission, because of that reason do not want me voting for this bill right now."

But opponents have said this all happened way too fast. Dozens of amendments were posted on the bill, and lawmakers complained many people voting didn't fully understand what it could do.

Those with the education commission insist it will mean more money for each school district in the state, but urban lawmakers argued eventually some district's percentage of local funding could be increased.

The bill passed through the House 63-24, and will head to Gov. Bill Lee's desk for his signature.

“Today is a tremendous day for Tennessee students," Lee said in a statement after its passage. "After months of engagement with thousands of Tennesseans, our state will have a new, innovative K-12 funding formula that improves public education by putting kids first. I commend the General Assembly for their partnership and desire to move Tennessee public education to a new frontier."