Initial draft of Tennessee school funding formula released

After months of strong engagement and conversations about public education funding in Tennessee and years of consistent feedback, the Tennessee Department of Education released an initial draft overview of a potential student-based funding formula, informed by input of thousands of Tennesseans – parents, educators, superintendents, elected officials, business and community leaders, and citizens from across the state – and is encouraging all Tennesseans to send feedback on this draft framework by an extended deadline of Tuesday, January 18 at 1:00 PM EST. Comments should be sent to tnedu.funding@tn.gov.

As part of a robust public review and engagement process, Tennesseans from around the state have submitted public comments that are being shared with 18 subcommittees to help inform potential recommendations for a new funding formula. Any proposed new funding formula would prioritize strategic investments in students, transparent reporting and accountability, and student-centered decisions.

The draft framework for a new student-based funding formula would include funding for all services and supports for K-12 public schools that are currently funded in the existing formula. The draft framework for public review and comment also reflects the following feedback from stakeholders:

*Base: Educator salaries, RTI2 support, counselors and school-based supports, district-specific needs, technology, nurses, coordinated school health

*Weights: Poverty and concentrated poverty, rural, unique learning needs (special education English learner, gifted, dyslexia), and charter schools

*Direct Funding: Fast growing districts, tutoring for 4th grade, career and technical education (CTE)

*Outcomes: Literacy, ReadyGrad indicators with outcomes, CTE completers, WBL and apprenticeships, JROTC, FAFSA completion