April 17, 2024

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee unveils new school funding formula

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and his education commissioner unveiled a sweeping new plan Thursday for how to pay for public education in the state, detailing for the first time a proposal that puts the funding focus more directly on students. 

The plan would allocate $9 billion in state and local funds toward education, including $1.8 billion for students with specific needs, such as those living in high poverty.

No school district would receive less money than they currently do now, provided there is stable enrollment, and the state would not require local governments to contribute more until fiscal 2027, state officials said. 

“We need to invest more in our public schools in our state, but we don’t need to invest in a bulky, out-of-date formula,” Lee said during a news conference Thursday. “The [existing formula] doesn’t deserve a billion dollars to be put in it, but our students do deserve a billion-dollar increase for public education.”