Comptroller’s BEP Report

An AP article in the News-Sentinel a couple of days ago entitled, Officials: BEP Formula Unfair begins:

The state comptroller and a key Democratic lawmaker say Tennessee’s school funding formula is so unfair to city schools that the entire program needs to be remodeled.

Specifically, the first conclusion listed in the Comptroller’s Executive Summary reads,

The BEP does not adequately fund the state’s urban districts in part because it understates the cost of educating at-risk students and English language learners. These deficiencies of the BEP force some districts to raise substantially more local funds for education.
On average statewide, the BEP generates 75 percent of the state and local revenue contribution. However, the formula generates substantially less state and local revenue for the four urban districts in the state. In 2005, state revenues comprised less than 40 percent of total revenues for the four urban districts, with Davidson County receiving a mere 27.55 percent of total revenue from the state. In addition, the BEP understates the costs to educate at-risk and English language learning students. Administrative and legislative action in 2006 increased the enhanced funding to recognize 38.5 percent of at-risk students and reduced the ratio of ELL students to instructors and translators. The increases, however, still fall short of BEP Review Committee recommendations.  [Get the report]

The urban districts receive less than 40% of their funding from the State.

Oak Ridge receives only 37.34% of it’s funding from the State, putting us in the same situation as the urban districts — but without the large tax bases that they enjoy.

There’s good reason to work together, if only the urban districts could back away from the TACIR plan and look for something mutually agreeable.  Maybe tomorrow’s “Day on the Hill” will be a starting point.

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