General Assembly passes new funding for public education in Tennessee

PUTNAM COUNTY – The Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) Act (SB2396/HB2143) was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly on Thursday, April 28. 

The process of reviewing the state’s education formula began in the fall of 2021 when Gov. Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn invited Tennesseans to review the state’s funding formula and explore possibilities for a more student-centered approach. In January 2022, Lee and Schwinn released a draft framework for the new student-based K-12 funding formula, TISA, incorporating input from thousands of Tennesseans. The new formula passed in the legislative session this past Thursday and will replace the state’s 30-year-old funding formula, Basic Education Program. 

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) released a statement in response to this historic moment: 

“Tennessee students deserve every opportunity to grow, learn and achieve. Our elected officials have made clear their commitment to the success of our children and the success of our state by approving the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement, bringing $1 billion in new, recurring dollars for Tennessee’s students, the largest recurring investment for public education in our state’s history. 

“We thank Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly for recognizing the time is now to invest in all students, and as a department, we are dedicated to accelerating student achievement for the benefit of all students and our state. For kids in our state, this means a lot.” 

Putnam County School System Director of Schools Corby King shares his response to the news of the funding formula passing.

“This is a historic day in education for the state of Tennessee. The funding formula has not been replaced in 30 years, and with this $1 billion in new, recurring dollar formula, TISA, we are hopeful to see student achievement rise,” said King.

“What we have seen from the formula looks promising for our students in Putnam County. Every student in a public school system has a base-funding amount. TISA has additional weighted funding to address individual student needs like low-income, students with disabilities, being gifted, having characteristics of dyslexia or living in a community with little resources. This formula also benefits programs in our district that promote early literacy and support our CTE programs and tutoring programs that address learning loss. We are here in education to see our students develop academically, socially and emotionally, and this formula ensures all students, regardless of their location or learning needs, are provided a high-quality education.” 

The new TISA funding does not take effect until the school year 2023-2024. 

“Over the course of the next year, we will receive guidance documents on how districts should allocate additional funds generated by TISA,” King continued. “In determining where to incorporate the additional funds into our existing budget, we will revamp our PCSS strategic plan to ensure our goals are aligned with our PCSS faculty, staff and the community.” 

To learn more about student-based funding and the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) Act, visit the department’s website

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