West Tennessee educators discuss new funding formula

JACKSON, Tenn. — West Tennessee education leaders shared their thoughts on the potential new funding formula.

West Tennessee Educators Discuss New Funding Formula

On Thursday, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn and Gov. Bill Lee presented the Tennessee Initiative in Student Achievement Act.

The formula in the new act is geared toward funding each school district based on individual student needs.

Local educators think the idea is a good one.

“It is going to be in a model where there is a base amount for students. There is additional funding for students that may have learning challenges, which I think is a good thing,” said Michael Davis, the Director of Schools for Hardin County.

Davis says the incentives for each school will be helpful to educators.

And making sure elementary students meet reading requirements will help students excel at an early age.

“Each student K-3 will be given an additional $500 per student to be able to do what is needed to help them be reading on grade level by the third grade,” Davis said.

Henderson County Director of Schools, Steve Wilkinson says the county is expected to get a 15% increase with the new formula.

West Tennessee Educators Discuss New Funding Formula

He says that increase is definitely a step in the right direction for students to get a better education overall.

“Anytime you have additional revenue, you can work on your areas of need and also look on areas where you can hope to excel students in other directions as well,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson says the additional funding for students that have learning disabilities will change the game in helping them succeed.

“Anytime that you can reduce the student to teacher ratio, which we could possibly do with extra money, we can do that with our special needs students. To do a deeper dive with them is always good,” Wilkinson said.

Both educators say that if the act is passed by the state legislature, districts can start transitioning into the new formula as early as 2024.

Each district will be requiring professional development for teachers to go over the new formula, and make sure the new act is understood by each educator.

You can find more news from across the state here.

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