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Gov. Bill Lee to unveil new education funding formula Feb. 24

Gov. Bill Lee announced he will share legislation for the new student-based funding formula, known as the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement formula (TISA), on Thursday, Feb. 24. 

“After an extensive process with input from thousands of Tennesseans, we are on the cusp of achieving an updated approach to public education that prioritizes students and invests in the future of Tennessee,” said Gov. Lee. “I thank our partners in the General Assembly who have worked with us for months to improve the way we fund public schools, and I have every expectation that we will get this done during the current legislative session.” 

The TISA will include the following components: 

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Student-based funding starts with a base funding amount for every public-school student. 

Additional funding may then be allocated based on weights to address individual student needs. 

Direct funding is another opportunity for students to receive additional funding allocations to support specific programs, like tutoring. 

Outcome incentives are awarded based on student achievement to empower schools to help all students reach their full potential. 

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Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn on Wednesday appeared before members of the House Education Instruction Committee to answer questions about the proposed new funding formula ahead of its unveiling next week. 

Schwinn noted that Tennessee is one of about nine states that still use a resource-based funding model for education. She added that moving to a student-based funding formula will help “ensure that students who need the resources and additional support receive the funding attached to them.” 

The amount the state would spend on each student beyond the set base funding amount would “vary pretty significantly” with the new plan depending on each individual student’s specific needs, according to Schwinn. 

“Those schools that have high concentrations of students who are economically disadvantaged, they will likely have additional funding on top of what they already get,” she added. “Very candidly, that tends to benefit our rural and urban communities the most.” 

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Once the new formula is released, school districts are expected to receive information regarding how much funding they would receive from the current Basic Education Program funding formula compared to the proposed new student-based formula. 

To learn more about student-based funding, Tennessee’s recent public engagement process and subcommittee recommendations, and to access additional resources, visit the Department of Education’s website

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