BY KAREN CAMPBELL
Weakley County Schools Communications Director
SHARON (October 21) – Weakley County will have a voice in discussions of a new public education funding strategy thanks to Sharon School’s Danielle Johnson.
The second-grade teacher and Northwest Region Teacher of the Year will serve on the Teacher Advisory Subcommittee, one of seven school and district-focused subcommittees formed last week to hear from teachers, principals, school system personnel and leadership, rural and small districts, suburban/municipals/fast-growing communities, and urban districts.
On October 8, Governor Bill Lee called for a full review of the state’s funding formula for public education to “focus on a student investment strategy that emphasizes all students rather than systems, empowers parents to engage in their child’s education and outcomes, ensures all students are prepared for postsecondary success, and reflects Tennesseans’ values.”
In total, 18 subcommittees will convene twice per month to hold conversations on how to create a student-focused investment strategy from the lens of their subcommittee’s respective stakeholder group.
“Bringing our district and school leaders and educators who are the boots on the ground in our school systems each and every day is essential as we hold discussions on a student-focused funding strategy for public education in Tennessee,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Our educators, district and school leaders and advocates for these groups understand the needs our students have in the classroom and can provide critical insights during these conversations as we explore how to better support our students and their futures.”
The Basic Education Program (BEP) is the current funding formula through which state education dollars are generated and distributed to Tennessee schools.
“The BEP has long been problematic for Weakley County as it is based on student enrollment and an equalization formula driven by property values and sales tax,” noted Weakley County Schools Director Randy Frazier. “That formula presents numerous challenges for rural communities. Having a teacher of Danielle’s caliber at the table will be a great opportunity for those challenges to be voiced.”
For more information and to learn how state residents can be involved, visit https://www.tn.gov/education/tnedufunding.