I usually stay out of local political issues (except as a regular citizen) unless their are issues regarding the state intermingled in the issue. As the push for a local tax increase is bandied about to fulfill the desires from the school superintendent (Jim McIntyre). The county mayor (Tim Burchett) mentioned possible changes to the BEP to get the funding above the 13 million additional the mayor had already added to the schools budget.
I was asked by WATE channel 6 about the state getting more money for our schools.
I mentioned how the Knox county delegation had a sit down meeting with the school superintendent and the school board to talk about issues important to them and to chart a path moving forward.
While the issue of not allowing the people to decide if they want to vote for their schools superintendent was keyed upon, specific changes to the BEP were not mentioned.
I mentioned that the state had a large surplus of funds in the form of lottery surplus funds. The lottery pays for the prizes and scholarships, but after that one of the things they can spend funds on is school infrastructure. Things like computer Internet servers or routers for wireless service may be considered one of those infrastructure products that may be purchased. I told McIntyre I was willing to work with him and put forward legislation to see if some of that money could be drawn down for local schools. When the local school board delegation came to Nashville no specific changes on that issue was mentioned. Nor have I heard from them on adjusting it since the meeting.
The BEP state school funding formula was adjusted by Jammie Woodson a few years ago. When the local school board delegation came to Nashville no specific possible changes to that formula were mentioned. Nor have I heard from them on adjusting it since the meeting.
There is also a law on "maintenance of effort" that requires local communities to continue funding schools at the same or higher levels then the previous year. An adjustment in the law could actually help get more money to schools in that some counties might have a bump of funding in their budget and want to give it to the schools but because of the "Maintenance of effort" law the local community may not want to give the money to the schools in that they would be held to a higher standard forever after. Adjusting the law to allow an exemption in some form or for some time frame could bring more money to our local schools. When the local school board delegation came to Nashville no specific possible changes on that issue were mentioned. Nor have I heard from them on adjusting it since the meeting.
There are alternatives to a local tax increase that could get more money to the schools. As far as the state or local delegation is concerned, no specific changes have ever been brought forward to us that I know of. As I said at the meeting, I still stand ready to work with superintendent McIntyre on these issue if they are wanting to make a change.