Commissioner Penny Schwinn explains how school finance reform would help Tennessee students

In Politics by Michael Rae

In October 2021, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn announced a comprehensive review of the state’s K-12 school finance system, including plans to explore options for adopting a student-centered funding approach.

This was welcomed news, as Tennessee is one of only a handful of states that employ an outdated resource-based model for delivering education funds to school districts. In Tennessee today, only three percent of state and local operating dollars are allocated based on student characteristics, with the state’s Basic Education Program (BEP) formula currently tying funding to inputs such as administrative staff counts, textbooks and counselors.