Statement from Senator Ken Yager regarding new Task Force on Education Funding

NASHVILLE — Senate State and Local Government Committee Chairman Ken Yager (R-Kingston) said today he was very pleased Governor Haslam has formed a task force to examine the current education funding formula in Tennessee, which is known as the Basic Education Program (BEP).  Yager introduced legislation last week calling for Tennessee to utilize the previous TACIR model for determining how the funds should be disbursed to local education agencies in the state.  Yager said the current formula has hurt rural school districts.

“The TACIR formula provided an equalization of school funding among all the counties,” said Senator Yager.  “It was changed in 2007 to include revisions by the UT Center for Business and Economic Research.  This change has cost every county in the twelfth district combined millions of dollars as well as many other Tennessee counties.”

“I am very pleased that the Governor is going to focus on how education funding is delivered to school districts so every Tennessee student receives the opportunities they need to improve.  This is very important to schools in my district and statewide.   The creation of this task force is a major step forward in correcting some of the problems we face with the current funding formula.  I look forward to following this task force’s work and to finding a good solution to address our concerns.”

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 Please find a copy of the Governor’s Release below:

HASLAM APPOINTS TASK FORCE TO FOCUS ON EDUCATION FUNDING

Group to study Basic Education Program formula

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the creation of a task force to study the Basic Education Program (BEP), which is the state’s funding formula for K-12 schools. 

The most recent revision to the BEP, known as BEP 2.0, was adopted in 2007. The formula takes factors such as local property and sales tax revenue into account when calculating how much money Tennessee school districts will receive from the state each year. A number of districts, both large and small, have raised questions and concerns about the formula and whether it distributes funds in a fair and equitable manner.

“The last significant revision of the BEP was seven years ago, and education in Tennessee has changed a lot since then,” Haslam said. “It is the appropriate time to take a fresh look at the formula, identify strengths and weaknesses and determine whether or not changes should be made.”

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman will chair the task force, and members will include:

  • Rep. Harry Brooks (R-Knoxville), chairman, House Education Committee
  • David Connor, executive director, Tennessee County Services Association
  • Sen. Delores Gresham (R-Somerville), chairman, Senate Education Committee
  • Chris Henson, chief financial officer, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
  • Kevin Krushenski, research analyst, Tennessee Municipal League
  • Larry Martin, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration
  • Gary Nixon, executive director, State Board of Education
  • Larry Ridings, Tennessee School Systems for Equity
  • Lynnisse Roehrich-Patrick, executive director, Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations
  • Justin Wilson, Comptroller of the Treasury
  • Mark Cate, chief of staff, Governor’s Office   (ex officio member)

“We want to make sure we are distributing funds in the right way,” Huffman said. “This task force will look at the distribution of available resources in a responsible manner.”

The task force will meet over the course of this year and will make recommendations to the governor by the end of the year.

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