State begins listening tour to discuss education funding

Posted at 9:01 PM, Oct 27, 2021

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — How should the state's education money be divided up?

It's a question that could impact hundreds of thousands of students and their families. So Wednesday in Hendersonville was a chance to hear how parents want to see that money doled out.

The issue can get bogged down in the details of a funding formula called the Basic Education Program.

This was the first of several listening sessions the commissioner of education is hosting before possibly changing how the state's education funding formula works, with some in the audience pushing for voucher programs that could use taxpayer money to take kids out of public schools.

The commissioner says the school voucher issue would have to be taken up as a separate piece of legislation, though it could impact the amount of money available to schools.

She says she wants the funding formula re-tooled to focus on each specific child.

"It is literally saying based on the needs of this child, the state will allocate this much money, and that might need more children with disabilities, English learners, economically disadvantaged students," said Penny Schwinn, the state education commissioner.